My daughter has a dog that drools as a prelude to regurgitating after just a few blocks in a moving car. Hanging a head out the window sometimes helps for a while, but for travel any distance it is necessary to keep the dog sedated. This dog is crate trained, but does not do any better in a crate.
Try crate travel, but if that doesn't work, talk to a vet about a chemical solution.
Compare it to Winnebago's Journey for features, although the Bentley is built on the lighter XCR chassis Winnebago uses for their Forza line. Chassis choice has it with entry DPs in other lines, but not all build the same way, Winnebago probably being the closest fot house structure, and Nexus is a bit upscale on trim. I would also say Newmar at the entry level, if they were not built so differently.
A step up from manufacturers building with plastic storage bins, if anybody is still doing that at diesel pusher prices.
It should eventually cover the whole state, as the southern edge reaches well into Oklahoma, possibly south of I-40. I'm in Wichita now, it is not yet as bad as initially forecast (2-4 inches of ice?) and traffic is keeping major city streets clear at day time temperatures, but the rain is still there, temperatures will drop again, storm warning for here extends well into Saturday.
Timing will be different for different places, might not yet have reached the Oklahoma/Missouri/Kansas corner area, nor much of Arkansas before Sunday. Storm is slow moving, almost stalled, which is why forecast for S Oklahoma, N Texas, S Arkansas suggests up to 4-6 inches of rain before Monday.
If thinking about traveling, inquire locally, be prepared to stop if you catch up with it going east, or wait for it to pass if you run into going west.
Normal Thankgiving through New Years weather for Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, pretty much anywhere east of Rockies between I-70 and I-40. North of that, snow, south of that heavy rain.
You could plan to take I-95 down to I-40, across to Nashville on I-40 to pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway, then US-61 down to Louisiana. These Interstates are kept clear all winter, in winter weather country, although there are sections of I-40 that get caught by road blockage disasters from time to time, but these are long term when they happen, so you'll know not to go that way.
I can't guarantee the parkway will be open all the way through, it is not miantained as a critcal thoroughfare, so if it gets buried under ice, it could be closed for a while.
You will not get out of subfreezing weather so fast that way. Nashville and south might be above freezing, more like around or below freezing, and I've gone through in snow and freezing rain more than once in January. I-20 is a safer winter route, as bad weather is more often just rain, although it might be close to freezing.
But your other requirements, getting out of freezing weather as quickly as possible, suggests I-95, or even US-17, as a route down, because the closer you are to the coast, the more likely ocean air masses will have pushed away colder air coming off the continent. The years I lived in the Carolinas, it would be wet, cold, but above freezing on the coast when US-301 (where I-95 now runs) was covered with ice or slick with refrozen snow. I-95 should be better now than 301 was then, because winter maintenance standards are now better, but you can still be in freezing air until well south of Atlanta, January through February. I've also gone through the area in January with temperatures in the high 40s to mid 50s, something that seldom happens west of the Appalachians north of I-20 corridor.
I almost always have lots of alternatives in mind for these trips that go from one corner of a rectangle to another, and make my choices last minute based on weather, short term forecasts or what's happening right now. Often a diagonal looks shortest, but it is not always the best, there are usually more possible diagonals, and following the sides, straight south then west, or west then south, seldom costs more than 10-15% extra miles, and less often, extra time.
How many devices are getting addresses from the router? The conflict often occurs when everything is using DHCP, something goes to sleep, then the router reissues that address to something alse starting up or waling up, asking for an IP address, then the other client wakes up with the same address cached.
Among fixes, restart router often works, everybody has to ask for a new address, but sometimes that's just everybody awake. Some clients can figure out what is happening when they wake up, others are not so smart. I'm living alone, but still might have as many as 10-12 IP clients active, some better behaves than others.
I've cleaned up some of the conflict potential by having the router assign permanent addresses to permanently located devices, particularly those hard-wired like the desktop computer, network-attached drive, BluRay player, and to the printer's WiFi interface, because some of these need to be awakened by a network signal. I let my laptop and portable devices do DHCP because the portables are better behaved about waking up and the laptop is either on and busy or shut down.
About using it with the slides in: a ot of us like to use the rv while traveling, stopping at city parks, roadside tables, rest areas etc for lunch stops, potty stops, even naps sometimes. Urban boondockers sometimes stop overnight where there is no room to deploy slides. What could be used and what couldn't was key to our choice of motorhome floorplan, and it can matter as much for a towable, depending how you use it.
Also important sometimes is how a slideout works. My two are independently operated, can be used (occupied, carrying weight) open or closed or partially open. Many slide out spaces in towable RVs are designed to carry weight only when fully deployed. They are not alway independent, either. A friend has a fiver with for slides, and she needs her kitchen slide out in order to prepare lunch on the road (the island thing). But the slides operate on a single hydraulic system, deploying sort of simultaneously but not at the same rate. The kitchen is the last slide to get out and locked into position, the first to start moving in.
RV dealers like to show the RVs with slides deployed, you see the big roomy interior. You want to see them in as well, and see how they move.
Something centered in the truck, it is about the length of the trailer tongue, because what is in the center swings to the outside on a turn.
Off center, your long load moves closer to the inside, then across center to the outside. The further off center, the less room. Ultimately, it can be zero, because stinger plus tongue length might be short enough that you can hit the front ot the TT with the corner of your tow vehicle in a tight enough turn, particularly when backing. I know this from experience, and know I'm not the only one to do it, because I've watched other people hit their hooked up TTs when backing. I've also seen them hit the front of a fiver wit the cab of their truck.
Depends on the type of coach and the size of the converter. For most smaller, lower cost mass production RVs the inverter is for a few entertainment outlets, so they can be powered by the engine alternator output when under way. Inverter is usually 1 kw or smaller.
In many larger coaches, the inverter is 3-8 kw or larger, powering every 120 V outlet when you are not plugged in or running the generator, might be feeding from 400-800 pounds of batteries and 200-400 amps of alternator output, and backed up by an auto-start generator when batteries start to be depleted.
On your Sunrise, it is most likely the entertainment center version of inverter power.
What is your real budget? Most of the critical differences are below that price point even when new. There is a lot of difference between $100,000 and $200,000, $400,000, $800,000 price points. You are looking for manufacturer names, but some, like Newmar, built to cover the whole range. And at Newmar, the line they sell in the 100-200k range is quite different in features from the one built to sell for $400,000, but will be built to the same quality using the same construction methods.
Similarly for Tiffin or Winnebago, same construction through a wide range of model lines, but they will be built differently from Newmar.
But over at Monaco Corp, after all their acquisitions, the lower price Monaco and Holiday Rambler lines built in the Holiday Rambler plant were built differently from Monaco, Safari, Holiday Rambler and Beaver model lines built in the Monaco and Beaver plants. Towards the end of Monaco Corp, after they bought R-Vision and shut down production at Holiday Rambler, they started selling R-Vision built product branded Monaco and H-R; you probably don't want those.
If you are wanting high-end product, on a budget, you can get it by shopping used, particularly for brands like Bluebird, Foretravel, Travel Supreme and Country Coach, which didn't survive the 2007 recession, but also those earlier high end Beaver, Safari, Holiday Rambler and Monaco model lines, or Newmar's high end lines, because you can get a not-to-old Mountainaire for the price of a newer Dutchstar. If under a million includes a figure like $800,000, you can get a used Newell from the factory, refurbished, or you can find used Prevost and MCI coach conversions in that range.
Can't say what would be my choice, or maybe can, but it is probably not what you are looking for. My choice would be a coach conversion built within the confines of an automobile grade 18-24 foot van, i.e. a class B. It is a matter of deciding whether Daimler or a lesser platform, and whose conversion: Winnebago, Airstream or Roadtrek, or to have a shop do a custom conversion. Thus if I were looking for something 20 tons and 45 feet, rather than 4-5 tons and 20-24 feet, I would lean stronly toward somebody's motorcoach conversion.
I suggest, since you are concerned about construction and quality, you visit some manufacturers before shopping. Three specifically: Winnebago, to see how motorhomes can be built using automobile style production techniques; Newmar, for craftsman style mass production and Newell, to see the production of very high end custom coaches that are not conversions. Most of the other Newell-like operations are now gone.
speaking of short old class As, i would dare say they are not a lot bigger than current full-size dually sprinter class Bs. (for sure when looking at GMC As)
First year of motorhome production for Winnebago (1969) the offerings were a 17-footer on Ford's P-350 SRW panel truck chassis, 18, 22 and 24 feet on the Dodge M-300 DRW chassis, and a 27 footer on the heavier (but stlll DOT Class 3) Dodge M-375 chassis. All but the 27-footer would fall into or under the size range Thor is now marketing as RUV, and they targeted a similar recreational (rather live in it full time) market.
In the early 70s the next step up, but still not often much more than 30 -34 feet, was to specialized coaches at two to five times the price, like the Clark Cortez or the early Newells, or motor coach coversions, which were just as sky high in price as they are today.
So the RUV is sort of a step back to a much earlier marketing concept that didn't have a name, since RV had not yet been coined to define an industry.
"Compass and Fuse are just medium size Cs at 24 feet, on 12,000 pound T-series."
The cutaway/cab chassis Ford Transit van has a maximum gvwr of 10360 pounds.
12,000 would be GCWR, substantially less than Sprinter or even the V-8 E-350, whether van, cutaway or bare chassis. Important when buyer's requirement includes towing.
Just what time of year? Spring is March-April-May towards the south, April-May-June in the North.
I've been in the southern Appalachians during the traditional "Spring Break" mid-March, one trip was nice with a tendency toward chilly, the next year was cold and wet, miserable for the whole week. A year later, from same area and south to Great Smoky Mountains in early may, it started out chilly and drizzly, turned sunny and warm durn day, clear and chilly at night.
Several trips to Nashville March through June (while my daughter was living there 2007-2013) I saw the same variability, but late April was when it was starting to be consistently warm. In 2010, we were there for the 1000 year flood at the beginning of May, not only got caught out in the rain, but got trapped there for five days because we to refuge in a place where there was no way out.
I say plan to take this trip, but watch weather forecasts and be flexible, ready to cancel or change some part of it for weather.
Most of these trips were pre-RV, tent camping, so no recommendations for RV parks. A couple Nasville trips were RV, we used the KOA on Music Valley Drive, liked it. There are other parks along the drive as well. KOA got flooded in 2010, but that's not where we were that trip.
I wasn't aware of how many different motorhomes Thor was marketing as RUV, their first were the Axis line, small and not so small A models built on E-350 or E-450 bare chassis, 12,000 and 14,500 pounds respectively; lightest F-53 is now 16,000 pounds rating, I think.
Compass and Fuse are just medium size Cs at 24 feet, on 12,000 pound T-series. That's not particularly small, as 10 years ago manufacturers were offering C's as short as 19 feet on the10,500 GVWR version of the E-350 and even smaller C's on VW's T4 platform.
I don't think you'll be seeing Winnebago calling the Fuse a RUV, as the term is a Thor marketing term. Winnebago never adopted "B+" which was initially a Gulfstream marketing term.
I think you will be seeing these pulling toads, and not pulling toads, just as you see with older C's this size. It is not so much a matter of size, as I know a couple of people who use Winnebago Rialtas (22 feet, just under 7 wide) as their only vehicle. They are no bigger than a long-bed dually pickup or a farm stake truck.
Pulling a toad is more about not wanting to break camp to go somewhere. I pull a toad when that is an issue for me, but don't when road tripping. My C is just fine for getting around most of the places I go, even at 30 feet by 8 1/2 wide; but I don't try to get around in densely populated cities or even suburbs where parking is at a premium. In those places, 24-26 feet and 7 wide could still be a problem, not moving around, rather parking.
Having grown up in Detroit and making annual trips to visit grandparents in Hernando County, then living in Orlando and driving back home to family in Detroit, my recommended for getting to Orlando is I-75.
I-75 crosses Kentucky at elevations comparable to those in northern Ohio, it is just that there are valleys to cross in Kentucky so the road is not so flat. But it is not really different than the road from Louisville to Nashville. From Tennessee state line to Knoxville I-75 crosses a few low ridges then runs in a valley down to East Ridge (east of Chattanooga) which is the only place were you'll find some longer 6% grades, a few miles rather than a half mile or so.
You can go through Nashville, but the terrain to Knoxville and to Nashville are pretty much the same whether you go through southern Indiana or southern Ohio and Kentucky. From Nashville, I-65 doesn't go to Orlando, so you would be taking I-24 to Chattanooga, and that crosses more ridges than I-75 coming from Knoxville.
You can totally avoid significant hilly terrain by taking I-75 down to I-80/90, then I-80 to I-55 coming out of Chicago (Illinois flatlands to Mississippi River valley), then I-12/I-10 across the Gulf coastal plain. Don't take I-94 across Michigan, because that's going to have some hills crossing glacial features in SW Michigan that are just as formidable as what you encounter crossing southern Ohio or Southern Indiana and the valleys in Kentucky.
Do you need a smartphone? Do you need a phone of your own? I can pretty much guarantee that your wife wants a mobile phone of her own, but it is up to her to decide whether or not she needs a smartphone.
Otherwise it is situational. Not everyone needs to carry around a phone, although most people now want to. Not everybody needs to be carrying around a powerful computer in their pocket, although most enjoy playing it.
For about 20 years before my wife died, she had the only mobile phone in the family, I was either with her, or at work, where personal mobile phones were still banned as a detraction and security risk.
When I retired and started going places aone while she was at work, she made me get a Tracfone so that she could call me when she needed help or wanted to issue instructions. That didn't work out so well because I wasn't used to carrying a phone around and usually left it at home.
My older daughter's four member family is a four-smartphone, four tablet family. My younger daughter's family of three is a two non-smart, one tablet family, although the four year old would probably like to have his own smartphone and/or tablet, as he is the most fluent in the use of these devices, whether iOS or Android. But that doesn't make him ready to be carrying one around.
If you think you want an smartphone to play with, and your wife wants one, you need two. They don't share very well. That's also why, in many families, each computer user has their own computer, or tablet, if that's the direction they've gone. In a lot of families each also has their own TV.
But you have to figure out your own situation.
Now, if you have multiple spouses, they each get their own phone, but you don't put them on the same shared plan. That's how my dummy brother in law got caught by his first wife (the second one knew what was going on).
WOW - thanks for the great advice! I love the idea of different options. I'm picking up a new road atlas for Christmas and the boys are going to be navigators. We will have PS3 time onboard, but we will also have reading & daydreaming time & iPod time to break it up. I've also let them know that as first mates they'll need to help with cooking while I'm driving.
I love the idea of a vacation where we're all involved, and where we can see so many loved ones who are sadly getting older and not going to be around forever.
What is the app/site you used?
The tool I use for this is Microsoft Streets and Trips, which has been discontinued. The version I'm using is old, maybe 2005 or 2007. I bought newer versions but found the product less usable for me as it "improved."
An alternative is DeLorme Street Atlas. What I have is DeLorme Topo, for which Street Atlas provides the planning and routing functions, but I have not yet figured out how to make it work for me as smoothly as the old version of Streets and Trips.
I suspect there may be more than one online product that works as well, which would be the reason Microsoft left the consumer mapping market. I've used Mapquest and Google Maps for quick planning, know that GoodSam has an online product as well with a RV focus (e.g. camping places in the point-of-interest data). I've not checked any of these for the key features I used in Streets and Trips, that is the ability to put a "length of stop" for every stop, and quickly recalculate every thing forward after a change. I traveled with S&T on a laptop, so when a day's activities changed my overnight stop, I could re-plan the remainder of the trip in a few minutes. I would need a good Internet connection, together with a good online tool, to do this online.
Looking at other responses has me thinking about the RV. For a rental, you would probably find something on the order of 22-24 feet long adequate for the trip, if the boys would sleep together in the overhead bed. I don't know how that works today, when every child might expect a private room. I know it worked OK for travel 50-60 years ago, even though we were accustomed to having our own beds (but not own rooms) at home. Our family still makes these privacy compromises to make cruises and road trips more affordable, or to pack a large extended family into one house for a holiday gathering or a reunion.
However, if you are thinking of buying and selling to possibly save the rental fees, then make sure that what you choose could be suitable for long term use, because you just might decide that you want to keep it.
Budget $3000 to $3500 for gasoline, maybe more if prices go back up to $3 or more by the time of your trip.
One of the few things I found encouraging from my tour of Winnebago was that inspection for QC was independent of manufacturing. While a lot of the assembly work was rushed (it is essentially a moving assembly line operation) and had potential to get sloppy, the people doing the work were not the people who signed off on each operation being completed OK.
At some of the other plants I've visited, with more of a craftsman or staged assembly team operation, the craftsman or team leader signed off on the work stage being completed. While this lets management know who is responsible when something goes wrong, it is not the same as a third party inspection.
This difference in mass production and QC procedures helped me decide what brand to buy, when I finally decided that my budget allowed only for mass production, rather than custom-built luxury work. Without an independent QC inspection operation, it is too easy for something to get signed off as OK when it has in fact been overlooked or forgotten.
That's about two weeks worth of driving for a 5-6 week trip, which is pretty reasonable if you don't have plans for long stays at your stops, and allows for interesting stops you haven't planned.
I ran my planner with your "necessary" stops in order using an old Streets and Trips set for optimal travel time (favors Interstate highways even if they add distance) and came up with 6700 miles, 13 days + 6 hours moving. I routed through Billings to come into Yellowstone from the north. S&T took my through Las Vegas on the way from Zion to Grand Canyon (I didn't do that) and that is probably a good idea, since you've driven that far you should maybe see Las Vegas at least once in your life, plan at least one night there.
S&T wanted to take me back east through Tulsa and St Louis (the Old 66 Route) then across I-70 through Indianapolis. I tossed in Nashville to keep the return further south (and you should really let the kids see Nashville) so my routing went I-81 up through Virginia rather than across Indiana, Ohio and southern Pennsylvania and back down to Annapolis. This added only 60 miles or two hours to the whole trip.
There is a lot of stuff to see on the way, or coming back, that can involve 1-2 hours per stop, 1-2 stops per day, that could fit into your schedule if you aren't expecting to have several days at each of your major stops (e.g. for our family in 1961 Mt Rushmore was a two hour stop and Yellowstone a one day drive through, and in the 80's the Grand Canyon was a day trip from Phoenix). It is all a matter of how you approach the trip, because some people like 2-3 weeks at just Yellowstone, so from the East Coast it would be just Yellowstone plus the driving time. Your trip idea sounds more like the way my family did trips when I was a 7-16 years old, and I did the same with mine in that age range.
I suggest you work out some alternative loops to do this (particularly the coming back part you haven't planned with as much stop detail). Go over those alternatives with the boys, see if there are places to go through where there is something they want to see. When my the oldest of my younger brothers and I were in the 10-12 age range, we did most of the trip planning for our 2-3 week family road trips, then I navigated for my dad and mom driving. Your boys are old enough to be involved, and this can make them more enthusiastic about the trip, more tolerant of the driving time.
You would likely be surprised for cross country loops like this, just how little the size of the loop matters on time and distance. Taking your return trip through New Orleans, for example (and that comes back through Nashville) adds only 300 miles distance, 1/2 day driving time, compared to the shortest/fastest route.
Add San Antonio as a stop, along with Houston and New Orleans, and the trip becomes only 500 miles, and just one full driving day, longer than the shortest route (that went through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania). But this adds Phoenix, Tuscon, Tombstone (as a side trip), El Paso as additional potential places of interest.
This more southern route can come back through the Smoky Mountains without back tracking, while any west to east Interstate north of I-20 hits the Appalachians well north of the park. Putting Gatlinburg on the Phoenix-San Antonio-Houston-New Orleans return makes the trip 15 driving days (instead of 14 1/2) and 7300 miles, goes through Birmingham and Huntsville (Space Center) instead of Nashville to Knoxville.
Going through the national park from Tennessee to North Carolina, then across North Carolina to go up I-85/95 through Virgina makes it 7400 miles, 15 1/2 driving days.
Then the question will be, including Houston and New Orleans stops, and all the interesting places along the way, will your three weeks (five weeks less the driving days) be enough for all the stops you want to make. The reason I've always liked the early version of Streets and Trips for planning is that I could put in durations for all the stops I wanted to make, for a really good estimate of total trip time, and for getting my overnight stops well located for what I wanted to see (e.g. the night before a tour/visit day, near the location, or at the end of a tour day, at the location or not far beyond).
The problem is most likely between the last outlet that works, and the one that doesn't. It can be a cable damaged between the two, or a lost connection coming out of the upstream outlet.
A lot depends on how the work was done. If the outlets were chained going through each outlet, that is a possible source of lost connection. If everything gets tied together in each box, and a pigtail run to each outlet, a lost connection is less likely (and in some places, that is what the code inspector wants to see). If the work was done in the era of aluminum wiring, you could have lost the connection due to corrosion.
FWIW, I have one circuit in an old house, two wires pulled through metallic conduit, the conduit used for ground. Everything is tied in the boxes and pigtailed to the outlets. It is 1930's construction, so I'm not dealing with aluminum. Conduit is anchored to concrete block walls, as are the boxes. The circuit gradually got shorter over the years and eventually shorted before the nearest box to the fuse box (it is that old). What has failed where, what wire has shorted to the conduit where, no way am I going to find out without ripping out all the wiring and starting over, and that probably means opening walls to re-wire to 80-years newer code.
If you don't understand the all the possible points of failure, it is probably better to hire a licensed electrician rather than trying to figure it out for yourself.
There are no standards for this, it is a marketing term that each manufacturer interprets as needed to sell into a particular market.
If you have need for four-seasons use, then you need to know just what conditions that term means for you, and look for the specific construction methods and features that support your use.
What I would look for would be adequate insulation and cooling capacity for hot desert and subtropical humid summer conditions, and for sub-zero winter conditions with all plumbing and water storage in an enclosed, insulated, heated space. Stretching fabric across a space to enclose it, without heating, doesn't work for me, but started to be the standard for "fully enclosed basement" around 2004. Heated waste tanks don't make it, I have those and understand their limits.
On the other hand, I have not much interest in a RV designed for weather extremes at both ends of the climate spectrum, because I'm going to be moving around to climates that are comfortable to me when I go outside. More often I'll be trying to deal with too much heat, rather than too little.