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ronfisherman

SE Michigan

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Posted: 02/10/20 03:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rbaart wrote:



We will visit Black Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Mojave NP, Sequoia NP, San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Brice Canyon NP, Canyon lands, Grand junction. Total of 4000 miles in 5 weeks.

As others have stated, San Francisco would not be on my list.
But I would add
Moab, It's the town/area to stay when visiting Canyon Land's and Arches NP.
Page AZ, Antelope Slot Canyons. Lake Powell and other sites on Colorado river.
So many other places to visit hard to list them all.


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Lumpty

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Posted: 02/10/20 04:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rbaart wrote:

During the month May we, two couples mid-sixties from France, want to visit South-West of the United State. We start and end in Denver. We intend to travel with two RV’s with a length of around 20 feet. We have never visited this area before and we never used a RV. We would like to get some more information and the best place for that seems to me this forum of RV lovers.

So our questions:
1. Renting a RV is expensive. Prices vary enormous. Can anyone help us with finding a good and reliable rental agency in the neighborhood of Denver? Or is there someone interested in renting two RV’s to us?
2. We think an RV with a length of 20 feet is sufficient for a couple. I get the impression that 25 feet is very popular. But it seems to big for just a couple. And it consumes more. Any advice in this matter?
3. Compared with a large car, SUV of something like that is a RV limited in the roads you can taken?
4. Lots of agencies talk about standard and additional assurances. What is necessary and what is advisable?
5. Is it difficult to find camping places and should they be booked in advance? Further I have seen free camping places (including Wall Mart). What are the experiences with these places?

We will visit Black Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Mojave NP, Sequoia NP, San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Brice Canyon NP, Canyon lands, Grand junction. Total of 4000 miles in 5 weeks.


My responses, which are similar to some of the others:

1. Besides the rental-only agencies, there are private owners that list RV's to rent: https://rvshare.com/rv-rental/denver/co?location=Denver%2C%20CO&lat=39.7392358&lng=-104.990251&rv_class=Class%20C%20Motor%20Home&sort=5

Still a lot of money; figure a minimum of $150/day. I went on the Cruise America website, and the small 19' RV from Denver is $154/day, however the mileage charge adds on top, as do taxes, bringing a 5 week trip to $8,000+/-. There are also RV dealers that rent units, with cheaper non-summer rates, but no matter, it still will be $6000-$8000.

2. The only rental I've seen smaller than the 23-25' range is that Cruise America 19' unit. Yes, it should work OK for 2. My own motorhome is a 24' Class C that my wife and I have spent extended time in and been very comforable. What it provides is more storage space; I've always been able to bring whatever I've wanted. Fuel mileage with a gas engine no matter what the size of the unit will be bad. It still is a big box going down the road, unless, on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. A gas Ford or Chevrolet will be in the 7-10 mpg range, but fuel here is not expensive, budget about $2.70/gallon, but more in California. For 4000 miles at that number, gas will be $1,350-$1,500.

3. Up to about that 25' length, the limitation on what roads can be driven is height. With that in mind, I've never really been restricted in where I've driven mine. It has been left in airport parking lots, and been driven on city streets, to drop off a family member at Chicago Midway Airport. I wold not recommend that though at all to someone without large vehicle driving experience. It will drive much bigger than a car. Not bad, just different.

4. Insurance adds? That is really up to your tolerance for risk and what the base liability is. I believe Cruise America's is $1,500, with the added insurance $12/day. For 35 days + tax, that is over $400. For an $1100 difference, it may not be worth it, but only you can decide that. There are also options to add kitchen and bedding kits. For what they are charging, instead head to the nearest Wal-Mart and outfit yourself for similar or less money. You'll need food as well, and shopping in a Supercenter can be a tourist experience itself!

5. If during the summer, popular National Parks should probably be booked, however with a small unit there are non-campground locations that can be found, friends with a 24' Sprinter Class C do this regularly. As said, at many Wal-Marts, Cracker Barrel restaurants, Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops encourage RV travelers to use their parking lots for the night. Highway rest areas can also be used for short stops. Phone apps are available, like this one for Wal-Marts I have on my iPhone: https://www.allstays.com/apps/walmart.htm

As for the itinerary, I've done as little as 150 miles a day, to as much as 1050 miles (again just a few weeks ago driving home from Florida to where I live outside of NYC) driving my Class C on trips. A general rule is that your average speed with reasonable length stops for fuel and food is about 50 mph. Multiply by preferred driving time and that gives your comfortable daily distance. I can usually do 60-62 mph, but that is all interstate highway driving at 70mph, eating while driving and really only stopping for fuel. Non of that really possible in the mountain west. Big cities and their sights to see like San Francisco and even Las Vegas are pretty much impossible to drive to in a RV, so plan to stay well outside and use trains or Uber/Lyft.

Hope that helps. Good luck planning and keep us posted.


Rob

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PartyOf Five

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Posted: 02/10/20 02:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RV travel brings you a kitchen, the ability to stop where and when you want, and space to stretch out. With 4 of you total, you won't need uncodable in a car, so a van / suv will be spacious. In 35 days and so much to do, would you travel quickly between spots or stay at them and enjoy- the 2nd would be a reason to take an RV. For the first I would use hotels, etc. With a rental car.
If cost is there primary consideration, then RV is not cheaper. If experience/ lifestyle is primary, then there is no match. We met a French family who did this type of Tavel 2 years ago, DM and I can connect you.


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wolfe10

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Posted: 02/10/20 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Proper size rental vehicle.

Ice chest to carry food from Air B&B to Air B&B. We ate the vast majority of our meals in for the two months this summer in Australia.

Suspect if you price it out, less than two RV's. And, our mass transit systems are NOT up to European standards. You will need a vehicle to see the sites.


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rbaart

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Posted: 02/11/20 12:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you all very much for all the information. It was a great help for us. After some deliberation we have rented a Ford Explorer. We will stay in hotels, motels and camping sites. After all your help we think this is the most appropriate way of traveling. The car is around $2000 for 32 days.

wolfe10

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Posted: 02/11/20 02:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Particularly if you like to cook/eat in, do not rule out Air B&B's.

We have done that in the U.S, Australia, Costa Rica and Chile over the last two year.

We get really tired of hotels and eating out all our meals.

winniman

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Posted: 02/11/20 04:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could possibly still get your fix of rving. You could rent one in Las Vegas for a week when you are exploring the Grand Canyon area. As long as you don't mind sharing with the other couple, you could rent one rv for the week. The rental car would still be valuable, as travelling to tourist destinations in a rv is not ideal, especially if you have never driven one.{and the steering wheel is on the wrong side}.You could just follow behind with the car, as it isn't too long of a trip. Las Vegas is only four hours to the south rim. It is about a twelve to fourteen hour drive to complete a loop around the Grand Canyon back to Vegas. This could include, Oatman, Kingman, Flagstaff, Williams, South Rim, and Page, all in Arizon. The Utah part of the loop would include Zion National park, and for a few extra hours could include Bryce Canyon. Heading back to Vegas, you could take in the Valley of Fire State Park. As this loop is only about 12 plus hours to drive, depending which places you include, it could easily be done in a week. It could be expanded to include a few other places if you felt like it. This could include Monument Valley, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Beringer Crater, just to name a few off the top of my head. This loop is my favourite area to visit. Being Canadian, I enjoy seeing the wonderful scenery of this area. It is second to none. Oatman, Kingman, Williams, and Flagstaff are part of the old Route 66, if that has any interest to you. There are also still other towns on side highways that were part of it as well. Just a thought. Good luck on your trip.

sullivanclan

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Posted: 02/11/20 09:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would suggest skipping Las Vegas and San Francisco which are two of the dirtiest cities in the US. (personally I would skip all of California)

Another option to Denver for RV rentals is also Salt Lake City, which is close to all of the southwest national parks.

Grand Junction is a great stop over close to both national parks but between both Colorado and Utah.

Happy travels.


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ron.dittmer

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Posted: 02/12/20 06:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rbaart wrote:

After some deliberation we have rented a Ford Explorer. We will stay in hotels, motels and camping sites. After all your help we think this is the most appropriate way of traveling. The car is around $2000 for 32 days.
Oh, that is very unfortunate this forum talked you out of it. In my opinion, the only good way to see our county's national parks and monuments is camping, and doing so in a tiny motor home is ideal for a couple from another country. Scanning through all the replies, I worried you would be talked out of it. They frightened you away from taking the right kind of trip.

Renting a motor home from a rental company like Cruise America is done all the time by Europeans, and THEY LOVE IT. The rental companies deal with foreigners all the time and are setup appropriately, including matters of insurance. Renting a tiny motor home like THIS ONE will be not be a challenge to maneuver around. You will reduce your chances of a minor altercation by 95% compared to a standard size motor home, and you will increase you chances for a parking spot by 3000%.....that is not a typo. It's tiny size helps anyone, but especially a foreigner get around with confidence.

You mentioned traveling with another couple. I think that would be exceptional for each couple to have their own tiny rig to have independence and privacy. Maybe you will want to separate for a short period now and then. The only matter with two rigs is that everywhere you stay will require one camp site per motor home. In the summertime, getting adjacent sites will be uncommon, but you mentioned going in May so maybe you will do better. Going before school lets out here in the USA is very smart. Once the USA families get out and travel, the parks are busting and the best camp grounds in ideal locations will be near impossible to stay in. This applies mostly to the popular parks.

For my wife and I, traveling in a car and staying in motel rooms handling luggage is serious torture. Just shoot me by the end of week 3. Keep in-mind that a big part of the national park experience is staying in or adjacent to the parks, waking up in the morning, stepping outside with a cup of coffee and look around in awe. It is priceless. Staying in a motel outside the parks changes the dynamics of the experience. You could stay in the park lodges, but they are extremely expensive and require reservations years in advance. With reservations, you are on a very strict schedule which also takes from the experience. We exclusively travel to the national parks and monuments, and we NEVER EVER get reservations for camp sites. We always take our chances and always come up with a campsite. about 50% of the time we end up in a national forest or BLM just outside the park boundary, but are still where we want to be.

Don't forget that you can park your motor home overnight in 24 hour Walmart parking lots when traveling between parks. We do that too which offers a different flavor to the RVing experience.

You and your friends will make time-long memories together, especially doing it together, each in your own tiny motor home.


2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350, with 2006 Jeep Liberty in-tow


pnichols

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Posted: 02/12/20 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To the OP ... Ron Dittmer's advice above is absolutely right on the money!

If you want to visit certain large U.S. cities then merely camp outside them and rent a car to make day trips into and around any particular city. Otherwise, renting a small RV to visit the rest of the U.S. is a great way to go.

By the way, we have lived in California for decades (my wife is a native), and many parts of this state are of course spectacular to RV camp in. We stay away from populated areas in every state when on RV trips in our 24 foot Class C RV, and have made 9 week and 10 week RV trips across the U.S.. They were wonderful experiences that never could have been duplicated in using a car and motels.


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

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