Actually, I love the Jayco, and would get another in a heartbeat. That particular model is no longer made, and even ones from later years (2014+) are a tad heavier - although not so much they would be excluded.
Current problems were due to a tree branch ripping the roof in an unnoticed place this past season. Yeah, should have checked more than during the initial spring startup...but....
That said, since I'll be in the market, it seems advisable to look around.
You may have seen the other posts that my Jayco 26.5 RLS is very probably headed to the scrap yard due to roof/water/delamination issues.
Sticker weight is 6,845, with pin of 1,285. Since I'm towing with an F150, I don't have much margin to go up in pin weight.
Any suggestions as to brands/models I should be taking a look at besides Jayco? New or recently used (say, 2010-2012 or after) would be considered.
If it gets a salvage title you will not be able to get it licensed thru the DMV
In Minn. you can, as long as you can show it was completely repaired. Of course, the "salvage" stays on the title, so resale is shot.
Have insurance company fix it, ...
That is the issue. Because the current repair quote is more than 70% of the current value, they won't pay to fix it, only total it. I could, however, buy it from them at scrap value, and then use the remainder to have it repaired, with maybe a small bit to pocket.
But that only works as long as:
There aren't any hidden conditions (hence this post about ways to get better intel on looking for any beforehand).
AND - I don't mind losing most resale value because it would then carry a "salvage" title. (I don't)
The other angle I may have is that they missed a significant amount of options and upgrades in their estimation of market value. So if it gets reassessed above that 70% breakpoint, then...
But, they hold all the cards, so I won't hold my breath over that strategy!
I'll probably just end up taking the money. But it's kind of like taking the dog to the vet. You know they are very sick. And the vet can see there is something wrong. But they can't diagnose it without exploratory surgery. So there is a possibility the dog may have something curable, but.....
Gulf Shores SP is the perfect spot for you. Big campsites, miles of walking/biking trails for you and the dogs. Has it's own dedicated (no developement!) huge section of beach. Interior lakes for boating and fishing. Large fenced dog park on one of the lakes, so they can swim. Huge swimming pool. Nature center. And yet, it is a couple-of-minutes drive from the heart of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach shopping, restaurants, etc.
My Jayco 2013 26.5RLS Fifth suffered an unnoticed roof tear this past season. Right and rear walls are showing delamination. Dealer cannot tell visually whether left wall has an issue too, or if the faint single shadow they see is just "not great" quality control from the factory. Cost to replace roof, right and rear walls will be about 25% less than what the ins. co. will pay to total it.
I get it - common sense is to take the money and run. But this one was very carefully bought and optioned out. It will be very hard and long to find another that doesn't drive costs much higher (new truck, etc.!) - or we go down to a TT, which isn't that appealing.
The great unknown is that left wall. If it was to be replaced too, the costs would be super over the top.
Beyond visual inspection, are there more in depth "minimally invasive" things that can help determine how sound, or not, the remaining structure is before going whole hog on the repairs? Peel back parts of the roof, if it has to be replaced anyway. Or humidity meters like used for measuring the water content of lumber? Or other ways to get a handle on whether damage is beyond that already diagnosed?
There are a bazillion tour operators for Monument Valley (so it seems). We found this one via TripAdvisor, and took both the main tour and the Mystery Valley tour. Way beyond excellent! They made sure to vary the route a bit, so while we saw everything, we didn't have to deal with the "clumping" that happens as every other tour guide follows every other tour guide. Many times, we had an area all to ourselves for significant time, leaving as the rest of the herd showed up.
For Antelope Canyon, we used "Cheif Tsosie" http://antelopeslotcanyon.com/. For the normal tours, while you have enough time, all the companies put you through pretty fast. This one was pretty good, and although the guide has probably done it thousands of times, he still made it seem fresh for us. He even stuck by my wife's side to make sure she had her camera set optimally for the best pictures.
Um...it's supposed to be Camping. Since I've replaced the tent with an RV, I'm in the same boat as everyone else. But I haven't been in a campground yet that doesn't have multiple open tent sites. Which is what almost all National Parks were built to accommodate, mostly. Besides the limiting of impact, which is a very valid point, there is the issue of $$$$ to upgrade, let alone expand, campgrounds. There was no money before, and in this new political climate it is even more unlikely there will be a fresh influx of money.
So to go on a whim, pack a tent. To go in an RV to YNP, plan ahead and make a reservation. The downside of the upgrade to have your own home on wheels.
We took our first trip to Moab this past early October. At that time, sightseeing the parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse) was do-able, but parking was tight. Sometimes it meant a pretty long hike from the spot back to the main viewing/trail head area. I found it hard finding a spot for the F150. Would never think about it with anything bigger. The NPS should look at a shuttle system like Zion, but with budgets the way they are, it probably won't happen. There didn't seem to be any private shuttle operators. As noted you could probably hire a guide ($$$$), but the best option might be a car/jeep rental.
Others have made great comments. Keeping it simple, if your rear bumper is 10' behind the center of the axels, and your pin is 30' ahead (a 3:1 ratio) (to keep the math easy) for every 100 lbs you put on the bumper, you reduce pin weight by 33 lbs (100/3).
It gets complicated when you start moving things from ahead to behind as you have to figure what proportion comes off the pin vs the axels, and then how much additional comes off the pin based on where it got put behind the axels.
In the end, you have to move a lot of weight to get a significant reduction in pin weight. And likely a lot of that will have to moved again when you get to camp. Most of the heavy stuff can't be moved very easily - water tank, batteries, etc.
Better to just leave stuff, especially heavy stuff, at home. Or dump the slider, and get a much lighter standard hitch with a Reese Revolution...
As others have noted, it depends on the season and location.
On our 3 wk trip to Acadia (Maine) from Minn., we could have gotten a spot anywhere we went, in May...until the Memorial Day weekend hit on the return leg, and had to have 3 nights reserved, even though we only needed a one night spot. Absolutely no alternative in the area we were in.
For our June/July trip from San Francisco to Portland, reservations were a must, except for the one night stops from Minn. to the coast, and back. But everywhere up the coast - gotta have them, and well ahead, unless you like burning hours each day calling ahead trying to find a spot, any spot.
For the early May trip to Gulf Shores AL and Louisiana, again had to have reservations months ahead for the destination. On the road, none really needed.
For Sept-Oct Colorado/Utah - needed reservations virtually every night, made months ahead. Saw many, many turned away at Buena Vista, Durango, Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, Moab.
Mostly you will need time! And reservations! Campgrounds in and near almost all the National Parks get full months ahead of time. Figure mid-May to mid-October as the window you have for travel, as many places get very cold/snowy before and after. And the higher/northern places are more like mid-June to Mid-Sept. And then there is the desert heat to consider in the southern areas.
From Tampa to Rocky Mtn. Park (Denver), for example, will take you 5-6 days one way. And then the trip really starts. Figure a minimum of 3-4 days at each Park (that pads in a little down time for laundry, etc.). Of course, you can always add time, and some (Yellowstone area) will demand several more days.
From what you say, you'd be looking at several months! Seriously. We just completed a whirlwind trip from Minn to Colorado to Utah and back, and that took a solid month. A grand adventure, but we should have added at least 2 weeks on to it, just for all the places we stopped at, let alone anything additional.
So start plotting routes, identifying the most important places to go, and making reservations.
But, also do your research on bike racks to use - there are almost none that are designed for RV use. You usually have to download the manuals for each make/model, and read the fine print, where it explicitly states that trailer/RV mounting voids warranties and/or even stronger language about possible failure of the rack itself.
Swagman is the most common one that does allow it, and they only have two of their many models that do not exempt RV's.
The greater distance from rear wheels to the bikes on an RV makes for a huge "force multiplier", that greatly amplifies any bump in the road. Hence the twisted off bumpers for bumper mounted bikes.
Thanks all! Sounds like either mentioned places may work for our needs. Most likely we will be using the space pretty much for short term storage, rather than living in, as we can stay in my daughter's place while visiting. How is the drive in to get to the Campus location? I've been in some pretty tight locations in Philly before - to the point where I doubt I'll even drive the F150 anywhere after getting to the "campsite". But if it is relatively easy in, easy out to enter/exit the city, that would be a plus!
Moving the daughter, SIL, and grand-daughter to downtown Philly next week.
Now thinking about the future - Any suggestions for CG's near Philadelphia? We want to avoid driving into the city proper, so within a reasonable distance to mass transit (with overnight parking, if needed) would be preferred. Idea would be to set up a base camp, commute into one city or the other, and stay a few days with the family, then return to the base camp.
If you can get in, it has to be Gulf Shores State Park. Likely if not the national best, very near the top, as far as State Parks go. A wild "outdoors" experience, in the heart of Gulf Shores. Gators, wildlife, ocean beaches, lakes, fishing (fresh and salt), bike trails, walking trails, huge pool, etc., etc., etc. Yet very, very close to all that Gulf Shores offers.
Just did a trip through that area in Sept.
KOA in Buena Vista is decent - note that they abut some national forest, so there is a trail over a style, and into a web of nice walking trails. Not too big, so makes for a good morning/evening stroll. Judging by the tracks, Mtn. Bikers also use the trails. Fishing access nearby is limited - an almost hidden access point at the bridge in Johnson Village, or at the drive to town park in Buena. Other access points are further up or down the highway, and require more of a drive. To me, wasn't worth getting the gear out and making a try for any of it. Look into the drive up to St. Elmo from Buena to view a classic "ghost town". You may want to consider an out-and-back trip to Cottonwood pass from Buena. Very scenic, and very high!
Ridgeway is pretty nice! Lake levels were very low, but one of the campgrounds is right on the river - so you can easily walk from the campground to the river for a brief bit of fishing early in the morning, or in the evening. Plus they have two ponds for fishing right in the campground. Lots of mule deer come into camp.
Mesa Verde really needs almost a day - or at bare minimum 1/2 day. The drives between basic overlooks are longer/slower than you would think, so between the drive, Mesa, and setting up camp, things might get pretty pushed for time.
Durango itself is not such a much, but as a jumping off point for the railway, the drive on the Million Dollar Highway, etc. it serves nicely. We stayed at Lightner Creek Campground and were very pleased with it. With your limited time, it is a tough choice, but I would advise adding the day to Durango.
The other thing to think about is your credit card, if you use one at the pump. When you first insert your card, a predetermined amount is charged to your account to "hold" the funds. Usually in auto lanes, that is anywhere from $25 to $75. Then when you complete your actual purchase, the true amount is billed, and the remainder (if any) is freed up on your card for other uses. The kicker is how long it takes the station to "settle" the transaction - it can be very soon, overnight, or several days. Not too much of an issue with normal gas fills. But if you go to the trucker lanes, your initial amount could be as high as $500. And if your bill is only $75, you run the risk of not being able to use the remaining $425 for a number of days. If you hit a few stations that are slow to settle, you can exceed your credit limit, and your card will stop working for a while.
So if you plan to use a card at a pump, make sure it has a high limit!