Most reliable is to buy mobile data service from one of the telephone companies. If you don't need to move a lot of data, the cost might be as little as $1 per day. If you move a lot of data, it can be much higher.
Looking at your budget in your greeting post, you be best off to find the places where Internet access via public WiFi is free. I don't mean coffee bars and restaurants where "free" means "for our paying customers" because you likely will not be buying $4 cups of coffee or even $5 to $8 fast food meals, often the price of "free" WiFi.
There are places where merchants collectively support a free downtown WiFi, but I am finding more often now that it is the municipality and they connect you to their site to collect a daily fee ($3-5) before letting you get to the Internet.
Libraries often have a free connection. Some, it is for anybody. Others, for card holders, and they will often let non-residents buy a guest card good for some period from a day to a month. That is usually all about being able to identify someone when terms of service are abused.
The most direct route is across to Memphis then going out I-40.
That takes you through Atlanta, Birmingham, Tupelo (Elvis), Memphis (Elvis), Little Rock (Bill Clinton), Oklahoma City (Bombing Memorial, Cowboy Museum, 99ers Museum), then a couple of Route 66 museums before getting to Amarillo (Palo Duro Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch). In New Mexico, you go past several opportunities to visit Pueblo sites, touch the edge of the Navajo Nation, go past the Meteor Crater near Holbrook, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, the Eagles legend stuff in Winslow.
Going or coming back you could take a more Southern alternate route (we call them circle trips) going through Phoenix (possibly Sedona, Prescott, Palo Verde on the way down) then through Tucson (aircraft graveyards) and Tombstone (gunfights in the streets) on the way out of Arizona, pistachio and pepper country in New Mexico, Davis Mountains in West Texas, Hill Country on the way to San Antonio, which is a multicultural destination itself. Then Houston (Space Center and Galveston) on the way to New Orleans, visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast before reaching Mobile and starting your way back north through Atlanta.
That's just using the Interstates, months worth of stuff to visit depending on your interests.
There are also northern alternatives, further off your ultimate Grand Canyon destination. I've taken US-50 across Kansas and Colorado to the Moab area, then down through the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon. To get that far north you could go through Spartanburg, Knoxville, Nashville (good for a long stay) and up to Land Between the Lakes before crossing western Kentucky on US-60 into and across Missouri, catching the southern part of the Ozarks (stop at Branson?) into Oklahoma Green Country (Grand Lake O' the Cherokees) and the Great Salt Plains before moving north to pick up US-50 at Dodge City.
I've made all of these trips, different pieces at different times. But what works for you is going to depend on what your interests are. None of the Interstates are really bad, though you tend to fly on through places without stopping to see what is there. The older numbered U.S. highways take you through towns, and you can either visit or go through, and all are rated for 40 ton trucks, can handle your RV. Going through major cities, the Interstates work best, use bypass loops or urban expressways rather than surface streets.
Where you might want to go, what you might want to see, how much you deviate your route from shortest or fastest is going to depend on your own interests.
I suggest getting some travel planning books from each state, Kentucky-Missouri-Kansas-Colorado tier on down to the southern border, to learn what there is to visit that you might want to see. Once I find the places I want to visit, I usually find no difficulty connecting them using the numbered U.S. highway system, supplemented by Interstates in big urban areas.
I know that there is a module from JET that fits on the connector to a Ford ECM and tells it lies about what inputs it gets from sensors. Since most of the market for this one is people who want more power at wide open throttle, the lies it tells are meant to encourge the ECM to advance ignition timing and inject more fuel, but there is a limit on this, as what is maximum on the fuel and timing maps will still be the maximum after you tell the ECM the appropriate lies. Thus it is not a reprogramming of the ECM.
Something like this is what most people are talking about when they say they are "chipping" a gas engine. JET module is about $250 for most Fords, from JEGS or Summit Racing, probably some other speed shops as well.
My brother put one on a truck engine, the 4.0 Cologne V-6 in a late 1990s Ranger. He said it gave him a bigger "kick" when he floored it at mid-range RPMs. It cost him about 4-6 MPG in his daily driving, probably because wanting to feel the "kick" changed his driving habits.
Banks sells a PowerPack system for the 460 V-8 of that vintage, claims 85 HP boost, 118 lb-ft peak torque in the motorhome installation. Problem is, most of what makes those gains is external plumbing, and it doesn't fit in the E-series. Gains for a similar system for the F-series 460 V-8 are a bit smaller, but that one doesn't fit the E-series either.
Although you can't get one for your motorhome, a PowerPack for the 460 costs $1500 to 1800 as a kit, depending on which vehicle has to be fit, and you can double that to cover installation, particularly on a motorhome.
The PowerPack does include a reprogrammer for the ECM, so that it can be tuned to match the new exhaust and intake systems. I don't think the Banks reprogrammer sells separately, and if it did, you would have to find someone who knows how to tune it for what it is you actually have.
Performance improvements for the 460 as an off-road engine are certainly possible. While this engine series is not as popular as some generations of the Chevy big block, or Ford's FE series that preceded it, you can get free-flowing heads, intake manifolds for at least two different tunes, several types of exhaust headers, cams custom ground to match your intake and exhaust tuning, high flow carbs or aftermarket EFI. The 460 is not a performance orphan, just not a real popular build.
You can even buy a 575 HP crate engine from Ford Racing (about $10K without fuel, exhaust, ignition or engine management systems) but it won't be street legal, and you will struggle to find the plumbing that fits under the engine cover of an Econoline.
Horsepower requirements, weight vs wind, depend very much on speed and road grade.
Rolling resistance is a close to a constant, value depending on weight, tire type and pressure, road surface type, and a few other things that make it difficult to estimate. Because it is a constant, HP required is linear with speed.
Wind resistance is frontal area x a shape factor, both constant, but rises with the square of speed. Thus the hp required goes up with the cube of speed.
That's on level ground, at constant speed. To climb a grade, you need extra power, directly in proportion to weight (which is mass x acceleration of gravity). To accelerate, you need extra power in proportion to mass and rate of acceleration.
Depending on weight/mass (our culture tends to treat them as equivalent), frontal area, and the constants for shape and rolling resistance, the power required to pull the weight on wheels is at first dominant, but at some speed the power required to overcome aerodynamic drag rises to match it and from there becomes much more important.
Then there is the power required to run accessories, especially A/C and mechanical hydraulic pumps, which are load dependent, and others like cooling fans that are RPM dependent, and when you are sitting still these are dominant. Most calculators I've seen fudge these into rolling resistance, or ignore them, but a subcompact car at city traffic speeds might use more power to run the A/C than to move at 10-20 mph, but will use most accelerating in stop and go.
There are calculators out there to put these things together, and some built into spreadsheets will make pretty multi-curve graphs of the power needed but you are just guessing at some of the factors in the rolling resistance constant (which might only try to consider the tire part of that), and almost always leave you guessing at the aerodynamic drag coefficient which can range from 0.3 to more than 0.6 for typical motor vehicles and go beyond that range for exceptional ones.
I turn mine on only when I need to heat water. We had a gas one at the house we used that way also, in the '50s. Before that it was solid fuel and we built a fire when we were planning to use hot water.
If you don't mind paying for fuel to heat water that is just going to cool again before you use it, your way works too.
October in Oklahoma.
So long as you don't show up at the time of special events (State Fair, a county fair, fall festivals, Pelican Festival (end of September at Grand Lake), horse race running dates or somebody's marathon race, the commercial RV parks should not need reservations, COE parks should be mostly empty during the week (still fill some on weekends) and state parks don't take reservations.
Some facilities, COE particularly, will start scaling back what campgrounds remain open, as their volunteer workers start leaving for winter destinations. The one I use most closes about 90% of the spaces on October 31st. Then the other lower cost CGs (like state parks and tribal parks) will fill up with the full timers who were living in the COE parks and hopping space to space every 14 days. We saw the impact of this last year when the sequester closed all the Federal campgrounds earlier than these people usually head south.
I personally tend to make reservations for a week at a time att my favorite COE, even off season, because there are particular campsites I like at different times of the year. But that I can do this also shows me just how unused these facilities become after the children are back in school and families don't have time to go camping.
. . .
Another question for me to ask the Texas DMV. It doesn't seem right that the old plates would be good for me to drive on after the title is signed over to me.
Doesn't seem right because your experience is different. With people saying in Texas the tags stay with the vehicle, I'll work from the Oklahoma model, where they stay with the vehicle. As soon as we have the bill of sale (a signed over title is also nice) those tags are ours. If the vehicle stays in the state, we have a certain amount of time to pay the taxes, and make an application for title in our own name, but the tags are good until they expire, and then need only renewal.
We have an option to buy new tags ($3) at time of tax paying and title application or any time renewing. We usually do, because there could be outstanding warrants on the previous owner, and being stopped on mistaken ID is not fun.
Taking it out of state, you would be driving a Texas vehicle with valid Texas tags that belong to you, with an obligation to pay some taxes somewhere base on your residence. Timing on that is between you and state of residence (at least one wants the vehicle tagged before first driven on that state's roads).
Only real problem is getting stopped and dealing with vehicle tags don't match state of driver's license, and the paperwork from the sale should cover that for most LEOs in most states.
Most likely you are having difficulty with tax office in a Texas county because they don't understand the problem, since the way they do things they don't see the problem you think you have. So they are trying to invent solutions.
P.S. I bought my RV from a private owner in Missouri, plates came with it, I had to wait for him to clear his lien before getting a signed over Missouri title, our broker for the transaction had me just drive home on his plates, but gave me a dealer temp tag "just in case." Driving it to Illinois and back was probably a stretch.
They won't be in cities, or at least most won't. If there is a decent housing market, when something pops up from an estate in that range, somebody will grab it quickly and work to flip it.
I've been shopping, I use Zillow. I set up what I'm looking for, they send alerts to my phone. Really low priced properties are either stagnated by legal problems or turn over very quickly, so you need to be able to act quickly. There are other real estate search engines, I've gotten used to this one.
Low priced housing is usually rural or in small towns that are almost ghost towns, available all around the country, not just Florida. I'm finding properties in the Missippi Delta, rural midwest, the parts of eastern Texas that used to be cotton belt. I can find lots of cheap properties in Oklahoma, Kansas, eastern New Mexico ghost towns and nearby rural areas. Florida is a little more difficult and must move fast, you are competing with investment buyers.
A typical $20K to $50K 2-3 bedroom home built in the 1930s to 1950s will need that amount of money again to be marketable to someone who actually wants to live in it. I've got one right now the appraiser says is $83K for the purposes of taxing me that needs $20K worth of work before I can rent it out or sell it for $50K. I don't want to talk about what I already have in it, it was a bad choice.
Florida is really tricky. Visited family there for 50 years, lived there two years, mostly when it was one of the cheapest places in the country to live, ambivalent about living there again, things can change really fast. Rural property can be overwhelmed by development, once "hot" properties can collapse on natural disasters. People are becoming more aware of the flooding problems, sinkhole problems, things to which we once turned a blind eye.
If I were looking for cheap property safe to live on the next 20-30 years, maybe Hernando County or Pasco County away from the coast, and some distance from the major highways, or Levy County well outside Ocala. Old farmsteads, mostly.
A nice modern place in a developed area? Not at the prices you are talking about.
For the two responders that replied about going Liberty then 152 Westbound to I-435 on the West side of the city, We took the Western I-435 north to highway 152 to go East to Liberty, and that ENTRANCE TO 152 WAS BLOCKADED AND CLOSED TO TRAFFIC. Unless somebody knows that I can get ON I-435 on the West side from highway 152 I would sure appreciate it if someone knows if I can do this. That is why I was asking about coming down the East side. If someone has been on 152 West and was able to get on I-435 in the last couple of days I would appreciate it. Thanks again. Gary
That's what kept me from going that way in June. I wanted to, was going to make a stop at Cabela's. Haven't been through again since June, so don't know how it is now.
I can't think of anything I must print, but see the possiblity of something from time to time I, or you, might like to print. I have one daughter who prints everything, another who prints almost nothing. My wife liked to print everything, but in my printer the cartridges go dry from disuse.
I don't think I would consider a "portable" for RV use. I think rather a small, light, cheap laser printer, stored away in a closet. Laser because it doesn't go stale like an inkjet (which we tend to buy because we think we need color and they do seem inexpensive until we start buying ink).
I'm always finding campgrounds and RV parks that are not in anybody's book or listing. Woodalls/TrailerLife now merged into GoodSams is not the only listing, there are others published, and many more online, but some places fall through all the cracks.
Campgrounds that are not suitable for RVs, or do not meet typical expectations of RVers, but are just fine for campers. RV parks that do not allow camping, mostly serving long term or permanent residents. Nor will you find necessarily find a listing for the motel with four RV parking spaces, three of which have been been occupied by the same hunters' trailers for the past eight years.
Then there are the places that are members only, or cater to particular groups, like church campgrounds and clothing optional campgrounds, to cover a couple of the extremes.
But if you are finding places you think should be listed, suggest to them that they contact GoodSam (or other listings services) about getting inspected and rated for a listing. The listing is free, and they would certainly like to sell an advert.
BEWARE that you can NOT drive a truck downtown Chicago or on Lake Shore Drive. There are many streets downtown if not all that do not allow pick up trucks.
Seriously?? That's a new to me.
What is the reasoning behind that?
Not just Chicago, also some of the northern suburbs. Not every street, but particular streets.
I'm not sure to what extent it applies in western suburbs.
Since there were at least a dozen manufacturers building twenty-some brands on the Toyota chassis, some using radically different construction methods, does anybody else think it might be important who built the motorhome, rather than whether or not it was built on a Toyota cab chassis?
I, for one, would be much more willing to consider an old molded-shell CarriGo, but might not be as enthusiastic about a Coachmen, or somebody's stick-built house. The condition of the house is going to be a lot more important over the long term whether than it sitting on a Toyota vs Dodge, GM or Ford chassis. In that era there were manufacturers building 18-22 foot motorhomes, A, B or C, on all four platforms.
I would open the search, at least as a mental exercise, to small motorhomes of all types from the 80s and early 90s, so as to not start out limiting myself to something that might be less suitable to purpose. I would look at van conversions particularly, because several U.S. manufacturers were still building them, using medium length as well as extended length vans, with layouts and features quite suitable to the needs of a single person.
Between the Colorado Plateau and the eastern edge of the Corn Belt, I'm finding that RV parks range from $5 a night (and maybe free the first day) to $60, that's mixing municipal and county RV parks (not campgrounds) with commercial parks that range from overnight parking with hookups behind the motel or gas station to destination RV parks, but no real resorts.
Campgrounds, about $5 a night to $40 a night, usually around $16-24 for RV hookups, less for just parking, higher for popular destinations. I've been told people pay more for RV sites in very popular beach parks, but we don't do that in the middle of the country and I'm not a park on the beach person.
There are lots of places where you can park overnight for free, and others where you can camp for free a couple weeks at a time, off the grid.
So "average" depends on what you include in the average, and how you weight it, because for some people their average might be about $40 where Francesca puts it, others it might be $60-80 (green fees extra), and for many $0 because they simply don't go places where they are required to pay.
Since you are thinking of snowbirding, that puts you in a category of maybe wanting to be someplace warm at the time everybody else wants to be someplace warm, and staying for a while. You can somewhat boondock that too, if you are willing to keep moving, but many boondock in Long Term Visitor areas where the cost is a few hundred dollars for the season.
Most public campgrounds to not have long term stays, but I know of at least one municipal RV park that allows a small number of seasonals, and a tribal park that has long term winter visitors (though most snowbirds don't consider it a warm place). Long term stays are the business of RV parks, and that cost can range from $100 a month plus utilities to $3000 or more. I see $300-400 being pretty typical for a decent place that has a moderate but not really warm winter, in rural small towns where those same RV parks make most of their money catering to agricultural, construction, and infrastructure workers that leave the parks during snowbird season because jobs are seasonal. Think Cotton Belt, and Delta Country.
My last two times through KC (April and June), coming in and going out on I-35 southbound, I took I-35 through downtown because of the construction warnings for both sides of the 435 loop, so I don't know how much trouble the construction actually was.
Once was a Saturday morning, the other time a Sunday morning, so going downtown was not too bad. However, even at that time, it is not something I would want to do towing, because there are a couple of quick lane changes necessary in the slow section, and the drivers trying to run 15-25 over the speed limit come up on you pretty fast hopping lane to lane.
Normally in the RV, I go around the east side, because the lane usage is easier, although there is usually a lot more traffic at the time I most often get there when going north, i.e. around noon to 1 PM.
MPG will depend more on frontal area, then to a lesser extent on weight, than it does on which chassis is used.
Aspect has about 86 sq ft frontal area, is going to be maybe 12,000 to 13,000 pounds when you get it loaded. Adventurer is about 108 sq ft frontal area, needing 25% more power to push through the air at the same speed. Depending on which one you choose, might be 18,000 to 24,000 pounds ready to go, needing 50% to 100% more power to climb any particular grade at the same speed as the lighter motorhome.
What you get should depend on what space you need, and how much stuff you need (want) to carry. I find a 30-foot C adequate for how I use it, if I were to go to an A I would probably even downsize to something like the Via (though I would prefer to find a real Euro-style integrale with no slideouts).
But only you can figure out what size house you want, and the size of the house is going to determine the chassis. The MPG is what it is.
That sounds reasonable for running that slow in a C with that small a frontal area. You are not close to being as big as most Cs, not much bigger than the Econoline van, which might routinely do 16 mpg or better at that low a travel speed. I routinely see 16 mpg on highway fillups with my E-350 wagon, running 65-70 mph.
Not sure how the number might be used to calibrate a Scangauge, but your best measurement of MPG will be the old fashioned way, averaged over a good number of fillups, i.e. 4000 gallons used to go 32,000 miles is a solid measurement of 8 MPG. Variations in how you fill have little effect after you fill that many times. But of course, a long term average tells you little about how your driving, and road and environmental conditions, will impact MPG.