Throwing this out there in case you just need parking.
The Georgia World Congress Center offers RV overnights for football games at the nearby stadium (Georgia Dome and its replacement under construction). The main RV lot is called the Marshaling Yard. It is used for the trucks and busses during events other than football.
I don't know if they allow overnights other than football days. You could check. Also, you may be able to park the rig there, if you decide to stay with the family at the hotel.
I had no problem getting my 35-footer in and out of there for the WVU/Alabama game a couple years ago. Many 45-footers pulled in while we were there, too. As already noted, some of the traffic lanes were narrow. It is doable.
Is it in California?
If the van checks out OK, check with the DMV or before purchase. California and some of other states keep the tags with the vehicle for life.
If the fees have not been paid, the seller may have to fork that over first. It may have to have a smog test before the seller can sell? Now, if you are going out and buying it with a clear title, you may have no problem getting it titled and registered in your name back home. This can also help you in price negotiation. If the van is in California, any local buyer will use that against the owner. An out of state buyer with the ability to get it out of there would be a dream if the fees are too high.
Maybe someone on here can help you out with details. If you are taking it to another state to register, that may be OK. I know someone who bought a car that sat for a while in California and remember there were issues. Too long ago to remember details.
Those who can only travel 300-500 miles per day obviously need more time to cross the country.
That's not us.
Maybe you can cover more ground too? If a few of you drive the RV, you could drive just about non-stop. It will also depend upon how the entire group travels. We are fortunate that our two kids travel well and don't get frazzled. A road trip is nothing to them. We regularly make it back from Key West in 2.5 days, no sweat.
Our cross-country trip this past summer:
We left West Virginia on FRIDAY after work and pulled into Moab, UT in time to set up camp, take a swim, eat dinner in town and watch the sunset in Arches on MONDAY.
The better half drove a little in Kansas. Other than that, it was just me. I have been able to do that all my life. I guess I missed my calling and should have become a truck driver?
Once we got out "there" our pace slowed a little, I guess. Our plan was to jump around and hit the big ones: Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point SP, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon on the way out.
After this leg, we went to San Clemente for my Nephew's wedding over the 4th of July weekend. We managed to take in two days at Disneyland while there for the wedding though? Hey, you can't go all the way out there and not do Disneyland, right?
Then we made a big circle (DW insisted the kids see Yellowstone?) (glad she did): Sequoia, Yosemite, San Fran (with Muir Woods nearby that has Redwood trees), Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and Badlands.
On the way home my 13-year-old daughter did say she couldn't wait to sleep in her nice big bed. That was the only grumpiness on the whole trip. Even our dog Ozzie was pleasant throughout. Not bad, huh?
When planning all these stops we told ourselves that it was not worth one person being miserable. We promised to pull the plug and hunker down in one spot if that happened. The kids were too excited to see the next spot. We kept moving. They stamped their passports at each NP and learned a lot in the visitor centers. Then we hiked or biked to see what sights we thought were most important. We rode our bikes around the Yosemite Valley trail. My 8-year old got a 6-speed bike for Christmas in preparation for rides like this. It worked. He kept up and left us in the dust at times too?? We ate lunch out of a back pack most days but slowed down for dinner just about each night.
My plan was to find CGs close to the parks but not travel up into them with the MH. We chose well-developed CGs to ensure easy in and out with level pads and full hookups. We weren't there to "camp". We were using the rig as our mobile hotel room. We towed the Jeep and used that to get into and out of the parks. We ate out a lot. I love to break out the camp stove and cook and have a fire, but we did not do that much on this trip. We had a reservation for each night once we got to Moab. We winged it on the trip out and back. We stayed in a Casino lot one night and hit a couple of rest areas too. That's the only way to make time on the crossings. We don't want to pull into CGs late when we will bother those who are relaxing.
Did we see it all? No way. Did we miss a bunch? You bet. But really, unless you take a whole year or two, you are going to miss more than you see anyway.
We were simply making the most of the one time we were able to do this. Most likely, we will not be able to go back with the kids. My wife can take thirty days from work no problem, but it was most likely a one shot deal for me. So, that was our one-shot cross-country adventure with the kids.
The DW and I did do a similar trip by car with a tent about twenty years ago. (another story with similar itinerary).
I will admit that our trip was fast paced. We knew that going in and took it on as a challenge. We did manage quite a few hikes and bike rides. We even went into Bryce Canyon on horseback (make reservations for trips like this).
So, can you do something similar in 3 to 4 weeks? Be honest about the entire group's desire to go fast paced and make that decision.
If you can have more trips like this in the future, I recommend breaking it up into areas and stay there longer. Maybe plan three years in a row or something like that.
Redwood NP is a hike up the West coast for instance. I would recommend a straight shot out to the coast and doing Redwood and the Northwest parks one year. Then, spend a trip on the Southwest. Maybe do a Rocky Mountain/Yellowstone/Black Hills trip one year.
Good Luck on your trip, whatever you decide!
If you are going to parts North via I-79, you can skip the last section of the turnpike. That eliminates one toll booth. Just be careful to follow the speed limit along US 19. It is a 4-lane with some stop lights but will save you some time and $2.50.
Also, EZ Pass accepted and saves some time.
A good roadside rest point is the New River Gorge Bridge Visitor's Center. Stop and enjoy the view.
Wife and I went cross-country with a tent, air mattress, cooler, cook stove and propane lantern in a Volvo 4-door sedan.
We only had one month but squeezed every bit out of that trip.
If you are going to concentrate on the wild natural USA, this plan will work really well. It will also open up your available camp spots.
If you want visit cities and more historic sites that may be in urban/suburban areas, maybe not so much a good idea. A Class B (van camper) might be better for this type trip. If this is your intention, you could benefit by searching "stealth" camping.
Maybe try this repo/auction site. They also have cargo trailers.
Cranky Ape RVs
I agree that with that budget, you may be better served with a truck and travel trailer. How important is the car or motorcycle? Could you give one up and keep the other as your sole secondary vehicle?
The money from the sale of one could go a long way towards fuel or repairs or upgrading your rig.
The navy base most likely will not have anything. They allow people to move from one site to another. Very hard to get in. It was a waste of time for us to even try.
Did not try at Coasties!
Got into Bluewater Key without any problems. We expected to pay more then we did for week there.
That's the first time that I've heard that. Have things changed? Maybe? I have found that some military campgrounds have "local rules" that are more than likely unofficial where things like that happen. Maybe Sigsbee has some of that going on? I have run into CGs where it appeared as though the camp host was allowing long term stays when policy forbids it?
We still work, so haven't snow-birded there. We have been down in the summer and the campground had many empty spots.
I have read on forums that in winter months, snow birds are sent to dry camp at Trumbo Point and rotate into the full hookups where they are allowed 14 days before they have to rotate out. If you are planning your trip for spring, maybe many of the snow birds will have left for home by then. I would call the MWR office at Sigsbee and ask. They were very helpful for me. The first year we went, I called ahead. They told me in June/July no reservation needed, just come on down. We did and it worked out fine.
Pick your season, plan accordingly.
If you like hot, you can avoid the high season winter months. If you would like to warm your bones for the winter, no better place.
No matter when you decide to go, the best value is the state parks, so they book early all year.
If you go in the summer, availability at most CGs is much better.
First thing out, you should try to reserve at any of the state parks or skip from one to another. Reservations are difficult, but you may get lucky and string a week or two together with some skipping around. The SPs book up mostly on the first day allowed to reserve, so get up early and log in right at the reservable limit. I think its 11 months out, maybe 10 -forget.
Bahia Honda will be the toughest. The others are a little better. The Class B will open up more sites for you too.
For instance, I am planning a 2-week trip June-July timeframe right now. Bahia Honda only has two nights available. They are non-consecutive at different sites for the period I am searching. The rest are reserved for that two-week period. We may snag one night to be able to stay over and enjoy the best beach in the Keys (Sandspur Beach) for two days. The other SPs in the Keys have many more sites available for that timeframe.
We are lucky to have the Navy Base CG available to us. So, we can come and go there as we please during that time of year.
Since you mentioned history, check out a possible trip to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson. That should make for a great day trip. We are planning that for the first time this trip.
Since you don't like the nightlife, you could take in the town of Key West in a day if you'd like. The tourist stops are best done on the trolley the first time down. Then, take it from there.
What is the trailer's empty tongue weight? What is the tongue weight limit of the Avalanche?
If not too far over the Avalanche's tongue rating, I wouldn't hesitate to push it around at the storage lot at all. I would be careful to not take for ever doing it. That might heat the transmission too much.
Check out The Wave near the UT/AZ border. You have to enter a lottery for a hiking pass. We weren't lucky enough and visited Antelope Canyon on that leg of our trip instead. Thats a great site too.
It looks like you have many more days of possible lottery picks. You may even have enough time to go to one of the daily drawings.
If you are lucky enough to be picked, this will be a hike and photo op that very few get the chance to take.
We have done two trips out West. Each time, the trip was a limited opportunity to go.
We elected to jump around as much as we could to see as many different places as we could. It worked for us.
The first trip (1998) was 26 days with car, tent, bicycles and no kids. The second was 30 days with MH, Toad, bicycles and two kids.
I think a second type of transportation will help tremendously, specially if you are trying to squeeze in as much as you can in a short time.
Although I would not like dealing with a trailer behind a MH, you must be use to it. With many stops in a short period of time, hooking and unhooking might get old. Many do it with TT or 5ers. However, I didn't see many campsites long enough for both rigs. If you research and find pull-throughs along your route, that would save some time and hassle. Otherwise, it's drop the trailer in the storage area and go to your site to set up. When exiting CG, do the reverse to get back on the road.
Busses, shuttles and rentals take time. Even if a shuttle stops right at the CG, you will often wait. Otherwise, you will have some trouble finding parking for an RV at a lot of stops. Parking for the TOAD was difficult at a few popular National Parks, but for the most part, we were able to drive right to a trail head/overlook/visiter's center and park quite quickly. It helps if you are early risers.
On the 1998 trip, we went to Yellowstone, via Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Wall Drug, Crazy Horse and Devils Tower. We had to drive much further than you (Morgantown, WV which is about 1.5 hours south of Pittsburgh). After Yellowstone, we skipped down to CA through Lake Tahoe, hit San Fran/Muir Woods, Yosemite, Sequoia and Vegas to see family. On the return trip, we stopped at the GC, Zion, Arches, Bryce and Rocky Mountain. Some of these stops were only one night with a visit to some overlooks. Hey, it beats never seeing it in our lifetimes right? Was it worth it? You bet! We didn't get back West until this past summer.
The 2015 trip went in the reverse. We went to Moab/Arches, Bryce, Monument Valley, GC and then to San Clemente for a wedding. After that, we went to Sequoia, Yosemite, San Fran/Muir Woods, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore and home.
The drive from San Francisco to Yellowstone took two days from our trip. It will be a similar trek for you to Yosemite. I would have much rather maximized our time in the Southwest, but now that my kids have seen Yellowstone, I'm glad we did it.
A trip similar to what you propose is possible. I think 19 days to swing out to California might be pushing it. You might if you use I-70 as your return route and count on just stopping off for quick visits at some of the parks along that route. This is what we did in 1998. This plan makes the Grand Canyon a tough stop. We did the North Rim in 1998 after stopping at Zion. Zion and Arches were our favorites, so we planned longer stops there on the second trip. We went off-road around Moab. Visited Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point and Pink Coral Sand Dunes SP while based in Moab. This route set us up for Monument Valley/Four Corners and the GC en route to the wedding in San Clemente.
If you skip the California leg and miss Yosemite, you could drop down to the GC from Yellowstone and maximize your time around that area. Walk the Narrows in Zion. Drive the entire loop at Arches and take some time to walk some of the trails there. You can't go wrong with that.
The Tundra will tow more, most likely ride rougher.
The Sequoia will tow less and most likely ride nicer.
There is more to the reduced tow rating of the Sequoia, when compared to the Tundra, than vehicle weight. The suspension is different to make a grocery-getter out of the Sequoia.
True, many parts are the same, but the parts that lead to weight rating are different. It has a coil spring rear suspension versus the leaf spring of the Tundra. Expect a low tongue weight to correspond to the coil springs.
I think the redesign of the Sequoia happened in 2007. Prior to that, the Sequoia may have had the same chassis as the Tundra. Not sure if you are shopping older than 2008, but thought I'd add that. Of course the newer version added more interior room and fold-down seat capability.
If you are looking for comfort when not towing and can stay within the weight ratings, the Sequoia may fit the bill for you.
We went through this in 2008. We are pretty loyal Toyota buyers (400,000 + miles on 3 Toyotas with 1 fuel pump and that's it besides a few recalls)(Knock, Knock). I ended up buying a 3/4 ton Yukon XL, but my trailer at the time weighed a little over 7,000lbs.
Good luck on your search!
If you are repairing or looking to upgrade an older roof. There are companies that strip off the TPO/EPDM roofs, check all the wood and cover that with a material similar to bed-liner. They spray over the seams and around each opening.
I have looked at the web sites and it looks promising for a zero-maintenance roof.
Peterson Industries (Excel 5th wheels) offered Rhino RV Coating as an option for a short while before they went out of business.
Sounds like this dealer stinks.
Not sure about Thor, but my MH came with a "bumper to bumper" 1-year warranty. These items sound like the dealer should fix them, at least look at them. I have what I think is a MH from a stellar company. The dealer I bought from, not so stellar. Live and learn, I guess.
Have you contacted Thor directly? I would. They may be disappointed in their selling dealer. I have heard that Tiffin will not sell through Camping World. It may be a profit thing. It may be a service thing. I don't know.
My MH is 2+ years old. I do know that Tiffin is shipping me an entire new dinette. They got a bad batch of leather and are standing behind it even though the coach is 2.5 years old. You think I will ever buy another brand?
Everybody is not a mechanical genius. Some owners do pay a dealer to maintain their MHs. This dealer is potentially letting serious money slip away. Money they can make off of you after the warranty expires. Smart business people realize that. This dealer must not. I can fix most things. Some things I would rather pay someone than do it myself. You may be the same way. Small warranty items are a way to take care of a customer and earn their business for life. Thor will even reimburse Camping World for some of this too.
Give Thor customer service a call. See what they think about this situation.
My local Toyota dealer gets my money to this day because of the great warranty/recall service I received. Our Camry is EIGHT years old. I usually change my own oil, but this car sits low and is a pain to jack up. We had two fender benders, it went to their body shop, etc...
Here's my take on your list:
1. Gas tank spews gas out, unsafe situation while at the pumps.
They should have at least looked. Thor may have done something to the vent line during construction. Ford has been in the business for a long time. I'd think they can get a fuel tank vent right. Once Thor put the box on the Ford frame, something got screwed up,most likely. You still may be going to Ford, but they could have looked?
Did they look or dismiss it out of hand?
2. Passenger side windshield wiper travels 180 degrees + hanging up the drivers side wiper leaving you with no wipers, Again, another unsafe condition.
Warranty, warranty, warranty. Yes, you could most likely adjust this on your own. WHY? It should be done by the selling dealer.
3. Ice maker will not work - can't locate the valve going to it to see if there is any water getting to it.
Did they look at it and determine you didn't turn on the water or just dismiss it without looking?
4. GFCI won't reset.
5. Front storage compartment lock will not turn.
Warranty unless you damaged it.
Like I said, run.
If you are not mechanical and will need an RV dealer to fix stuff for you, contact Thor. Maybe they can help you find someone who will give you good warranty service. Look on the internet for a dealer with a reputation of good service. Go to them with your tail between your legs and suck up to them. Many don't like to do warranty work on MHs bought from someone else.
Camping World most likely has a local dealer who has a poor service team. Will they improve? Will they go down hill?
Another alternative is a local mobile RV technician. Maybe you can find one in your area with a good reputation. Maybe Thor will authorize warranty repairs of by a local RV Tech? Worth checking.
B = Van turned into an RV inside the van.
C = Cab (cockpit area) with frame sent to RV maker who then adds a box to the back that is turned into an RV.
B+ does not technically exist but refers to something in between the two. It's usually a cab and chassis (Class C) with no over-cab bed and a bigger box on the back than just the van shell. B+ is a "tweener"
So, figure out which one you want and search these. The problem is that whoever posts the ad may not know which is which and may improperly classify it in the first place. Not all sale sites have a B+ category.
We parked our MH in the long term lot at the Bob Hope Airport for a day stop. It looked pretty safe. They charged by how many spaces you take. I was able to squeeze my 35-footer into two front to back spaces. We had a little overhang but the place wasn't crowded. Public transportation should be at hand at the airport, I would think? We had the Toad.