I use 36 several times a year from Hannibal to either I-35 at Cameron or on into Kansas (but not beyond US-75).
36 is four lane divided, but it is not limited access, it has many small crossings and slow vehicle are permitted. Most of the crossings are low volume, and there are interchanges for most major highway intersections. There are no stoplights between Hannibal and Cameron, with usually light traffic until St Joseph, where the road starts serving as local expressway.
You can make good time if you stay close to the posted speed limit. Highway patrol will pull over traffic running 5 mph over, and the road is hilly enough for them to hide in the dips and catch you on radar as you crest a hill.
In the hilly parts you need also be watchful for agricultural traffic, during plowing and harvesting seasons particularly. Slow traffic will usually run on the shoulder, where it is paved, but it can also be crossing the road or shifting left to cross the median.
Last time I took 36 into Kansas, last summer, they were repaving from just west of the river all the way to Troy, with some long waits for single lane one-way at a time. I haven't gone that far since, but likely the project is now finished, as Kansas is real good about getting highway construction done quickly.
No. There is not even a website or directory listing all campgrounds in the U.S. Based on the number of campgrounds and small RV parks I pass traveling the "back roads" through the middle of the country, I suspect the best listings might include half of the RV parks, and fewer than a quarter of the campgrounds.
Most listings have "minimum service" criteria that tend to exclude small public campgrounds in out of the way places, and "convenience" RV parking at gas stations, small motels and travel centers. Listings are starting to cover RV parking at casinos, but not the camping networks at farms and vineyards. RV parks that primarily serve seasonal workers mixed with permanent residents, and RV parking in mobile home communities are also usually excluded.
Most of these places that are not in listings will not have reservations systems, so you would not find them by availability date even if they were listed.
For campground systems like the recreational access facilities at Corps of Engineers Lakes that show up on the recreation.gov reservation site, all that will be listed will be what is reservable, while there are often additional campsites (and whole campgrounds) at the same Corps project that do not get listed because sites cannot be reserved.
If you are looking for a certain class of RV park or RV-specific campsites in campgrounds, the best starting point I've found is RV Park Reviews, though it does not provide reservations service. What it does well is help to identify the types of campgrounds and RV parks catering to recreational RVers.
I hear a lot of good things about lazy daze MH's. What would be the price of a new lazy daze compared to a higher volume produced MH similarly equipped? And is the extra dollars worth it?
LD prices can be found in their website.
I'm not sure you can find a similarly equipped high-volume C, because of the differences in the construction quality of the furnishings, and the consideration that any other C above entry level or rental grade will have slideouts. Ingnoring that compared to middle-line C's the price of a LazyDaze will usually be lower than the MSRP of the mass produced C. And LD will be much lower priced than MSRP of the few premium C's that are not direct factory sales.
The "cost" that keeps LD sales volume down is the wait. That's why I didn't buy one, actually paying more the 2004 LD prices for a used lower-grade Winnebago (but it has two slides for the roominess my wife wanted).
Whether it is worth it probably depends on how long you plan to keep it and use it. If you want to be in something new, frequently trading to do that (e.g. you get your cars on 18-24 month leases) then you are probably not a candidate for a RV that requires several months wait after you order, and doesn't change much at all model year to model year. If you are buying something to keep and use for the next 10-20 years, then you would be a LazyDaze or BornFree buyer candidate, although any mass-production C can give you 10 years with proper care.
Until it takes the surge that kills it, as surge protection is sacrificial. With respect to surge protection, it is like a crash helmet. One hard hit and it is done, a few small hits and you are wondering how much protection remains.
For other features like power management and filtering, a good one should last tens of years if never hit by a destructive surge. That's better than the crash helmet, those get stinky after a while, even if it never hits anything.
Progressive Industries devices can be rebuilt to restore surge protection. If it gets hit so hard that it can't be rebuilt (think lightning strike) the warranty should get you a new one. Supporting that policy is the reason for the high price.
BTW, when I bought my last van, I was offered a deal on a new E-150 8-passenger van ($38,000 on X plan, down from $45K MSRP) but chose to buy a 6 month old ex-rental 12 passenger van with 19,000 miles for $22,000. Took out the back seat to make it an 8 passenger.
You will find these deals on whatever is being used by rental companies, most of whom do not title the vehicles during the short period they use them, so you become the first "owner."
I don't know about Sprinters, Transits, ProMasters in the ex-lease or ex-rental market, but the Fords and Chevys used to take huge depreciation hits in that first year, because the secondary market is small and frugal, mostly institutional buyers or very large families with lower incomes.
Most of the places I stay are public parks, the trash gets carried to the dumpsters, which might be at the park entrance, or might be conveniently located.
Most of my camping trips are short enough that, with my recycling and waste management practices, I can pack it all out with me when I leave. Typically do not fill more than one 13 gallon bag per week with stuff I cannot take to recycle.
I would not expect a "better" unit buying the Sprinter-based Class A (Via/Reyo) vs the Sprinter-based Class C (View/Navion). Winnebago uses the same materials, house components, production methods and workers to build both lines, and they are trimmed to a similar level. The biggest difference is that the C comes with a Daimler-made cab built to automotive safety standards for the vehicle, the A you will be driving from inside the house structure in a Winnebago cab.
Your choice should probably be made based on how well the living space fits your needs. In my RV club experience the past eleven years, most of the second thoughts, buyer remorse and trading for "something better" has to do with the living arrangements not fitting the buyers' needs.
For children of appropriate age, I like the over-cab sleeping space of a C, because it gives them a space they can consider their own. You can get that in a bunkhouse RV as well, but not at a size this small.
"Hotels don't do this and they take cancellations right up until the date you are supposed to check in."
Not entirely accurate, hotel reservations often have different terms, depending on the rate at which you book, and might have cancellation fees. They can even be entirely non-refundable. It can be the same for transportation, even purchases as big as cruises. Did you ever lose a $18,000 worth of cruise bookings because you chose at the last minute to cancel, or failed to get to the port in time to sail?
Many campgrounds are using third-party reservation systems, so that there is a fee to them for a booking, and a fee for a cancellation. This is case now even for reservations at public facilities. If you show up and pay the camping fees, those costs get hidden in the fees; if you don't show up, it is either a loss to the campground, or they get it from you.
Cool points of interests depend on your interests. I am a geologist, with a sense of geological time scale, so the Holbrook meteor crater is a key point of interest. It is as if this relatively small piece of rock hit us just yesterday, and today another could wipe out the human race in an instant.
But I was first trained as a historian, so I like to visit early settlements (San Antonio is great for this). Otherwise, a quiet place in a forest with wildlife wandering through the camp; national forests work for this.
OTOH, my two youngest sisters will be traveling from theme park to theme park, and my oldest daughter is looking for hotels with ghost stories, my youngest for art museums and galleries (so she would be headed to Taos and Santa Fe). My grandson, I'd be taking to historic railroads.
A small hard-side is not a difficult tow. But there are minivans and there are minivans. An Astro/Safari with 4.3 V-6 can tow a lot more than an early 4-cylinder Caravan or a Mazda MPV, and there is a whole range of other vans in between. Astro has essentially the 1500 Silverado six cylinder drive train, which is fine for light towing.
I would put a transmission cooler on any minivan that did not come with a tow package (which sometimes includes the cooler but often a beefed up cooling system for both engine and transmission, plus electrical and suspension upgrades).
I'd be wary of towing much of anything with 2nd generation Odyssey, they liked to eat up their undersized transmissions even if not towing (my daughter went through three trannies in two vans).
A lot depends on which hard-side. The smallest A-Liners can be towed by a subcompact sedan.
You did not list it, but if you are starting with a passenger van, my first choice today might be Chevy Express, because the OEM seats are so easy to remove and replace, attaching to pockets in the floor. You can get headroom with a cap. A 3500 passenger van should have the 6.0, and will have about 10,000 pounds towing capacity.
But I was last shopping just before the Transit came out, so have no comparison to that. I ended up buying the E-series, last year of production, because I had some specific needs unrelated to camper conversion, and it filled them. OEM passenger seats were best in class for comfort and strength/safety.
Today if I looked at the Transit, I might like that for a conversion or even a passenger van, but am discouraged by its limitations as a tow vehicle. Cost no object, the first choice is the largest Sprinter, particularly if buying a bare van for conversion. 24-foot high top has the most space to work with. The big Sprinter issue were I am (small town Great Plains) is service availability, but if you are a major urban area you will likely be close to a Freightliner service center.
Nashville can be a nightmare. Indianapolis can be a nightmare. Cincinnati can be a nightmare. Atlanta will usually be a nightmare. Louisville will be a nightmare until they finish the work replacing the bridge. That's just your route, from somewhere in the south to Michigan.
The problem is that the Interstate system, conceived by Eisenhower to connect military installations, turned into a commercial network connecting major cities, and providing expansion of urban expressway systems to allow those cities to spread into suburbs. So the system routes you from one point of congestion to another.
From Florida to Michigan, there is nothing better than I-75, though it routes you through 2-3 congestion points. From the central Gulf Coast to the Detroit area, you have to deal with Nashville, then either Louisville and Indianapolis or Knoxville and Cincinnati, if your preference is Interstate highways.
My experience is mostly Tulsa to Detroit, the choke points being St Louis or Kansas City, then Chicago or Indianapolis, depending on the route I choose. I've worked out at least a dozen other routes that use U.S. numbered highways and sometimes state highways to avoid all of those cities by 50 to 100 miles, but any of my non-Interstate alternatives adds 6 to 8 hours to 16-18 hour trip on the Interstates. So I'm not saving any time, just the hassle of urban freeway congestion and the possibility of 1-2 hours stuck in urban traffic.
I've not yet worked out an "avoid the cities" route for your trip, you haven't given me a from where to where, but I'm sure I could come up with a route that gets you off the Interstate system for much of your trip, and avoid Nashville. However, doing this might add 50-100% to your total travel time, taking you through a hundred towns where you creep through at 20-40 mph for 2-10 miles each.
With a few minutes working a trip planning program, you could probably work out alternatives that fit your needs and avoid choke points. You just have to decide whether an extra day or two of travel is a good tradeoff for avoiding urban freeway frustrations.
FWIW, when using the Interstate system, time of day for each city is important. Thus, for Detroit to Tulsa vs Tulsa to Detroit, my routes are completely different. Southbound catches Chicago and Kansas City at a good time of day. Northbound better fits the timing through St Louis.
Not 50 amp, but 30, but the problem is still the same. OEM plugs with molded rubber covers don't stay attached for very long, clamp-on plugs might last a bit longer. The cable itself should last forever, plugs get replaced periodically, if you don't pull them off you'll eventually burn the blades.
Over 10 years I am on my third plug for the original cable, and I now carry its replacement in my parts kit, along with stuff like fuses, a spare cap for the water connection, and a spare plug for the water heater.
This has little to do with RVing, and eating out is not so much about the quality of the food (atrocious in many of the most popular chains or franchises), it is about the atmosphere and experience.
When my wife was still alive, after I retired, I took her out for one meal almost every day. After all, I was doing a meal a day when I worked, even if many were fast food or a company canteen. This was mostly about separating her from the chore of cooking for me.
Alone now, feeding myself, maybe once or twice a week, when at home, or maybe less often. I limit myself to a small number of locally operated restaurants where I like the service or atmosphere and the food is OK.
RVing, or other travel, it changes. When RVing means going out to the lake for a few days or a couple weeks, I'll prepare all my meals in camp, unless business catches me away and I have to buy a meal. When RVing means travel, when I was still traveling with my wife, at least one meal a day either full service or fast food, often in chains like Cracker Barrel, Friday's, Chili's or Applebee's where the food is mediocre at best.
But most of my travel is not RV, either road trips, escorted tours or cruising. Road tripping, I'll seek out a full service restaurant for at least one meal a day, snacking or fast food for others. Touring I'm stuck with the places chosen by the tour company, cruising it is mostly the food service on the ship. I tend to choose my cruise lines based on dining room experience, which is once again more about service and atmosphere than about quality of the food. It might be luck of the draw, but I've found really good food only in Asia and Central or Eastern Europe, most of the U.S. and Western Europe is chain restaurant quality.
It depends on how much work you want to do. I used a rub-on automotive wax once, the job took me three days and I didn't get to the roof. Next time I used the 303 spray-on (not a wax, more like a UV protectant or sun-screen) and the job was still 6-7 hours of wipe on, rub off. Since then I've been washing with wash and wax formulas, that's 2-3 hours per session, so I'll do it more often.
A lot depends on the RV finish. If it is paint, it looks nicer, but might take a lot more work to keep the finish looking like new. Clear coat is supposed to keep it looking like it is waxed, but even clear coat needs maintenance. If the RV finish is bare Filon with decals, it won't be that glossy to start with, but a UV protectant can slow down aging, a wax (even wash and wax) can make it a little less dull.
Polishing and waxing cars since the 1950s (when paints were still organic and not very good) I've been through most available products since the two-three stage (polish and wax or rub out, polish and wax) Simonize days, through cleaner waxes (liquid and paste) to polymer treatments. On vehicles with good painted finishes, particularly clear coat, I like the polymer treatments, NuFinish is about the best result with the least work, in my experience.
But for a bare fiberglass sheet with almost no gelcoat, like what is used for RV coverings, the result to me is just not worth the extra work. Where I am, storing the RV indoors is more cost effective than trying to protect the finish with waxes or coatings.
In ten years of RVing I've encountered maybe a half dozen parks where a site with 50 amp service had a different daily rate from a site with 30 amp. In these cases, I'll ask for the 30 amp sits.
Otherwise, where 50 amp is available, the electrical service box usually includes 30 amp and 15 amp or 20 amp outlets as well.
Only once have I been put in a site that had only a 50 amp and 15 or 20 amp connectors, no RV 30 amp. However, I've been put in sites where the 30 amp socket had corrosion problems, and the 50 amp socket was in better shape. I find it helps to have that 50->30 dogbone adapter with me, to deal with bad outlets and the occasional 50-only site.
It us much more likely that you'll encounter sites with 30 combined with a 15 or 20 duplex, particularly in older RV parks and many public campgrounds.
I've gotten along fine with 3-5 mbps for years, including streaming Netflix, so long as I wasn't trying to do much other stuff (like system updates) while streaming video. My nominal rate was 5 mbps, my data overage fallback was 3.
The activity you describe can probably do pretty well at 250-500 kbps (continuous throughput), which is about the lower limit for comfortably streaming standard definition video.
USB TV tuner will be $70-100 for a dual tuner, e.g. Hauppauge 1595. Single tuner devices cost maybe a little less. Most of the computer work done by a modern digital TV will be handled by your PC.
If the cable you are connecting to has encrypted channels, you might not get those without a cable box. FCC is just now talking about maybe doing something to change that business model.
Put it on a server. The Cloud, or at least, choose one cloud.
I been using iCloud, the oldest of my late brothers used Blackberry (corporate private server) for years, Microsoft will take care of you with Windows Live, and my two daughters are using Google Calendar.
For mixed platforms, I recommend Google. Be careful to make it a single account, sharing a calendar. Both of my daughters have found that they have multiple Google accounts because their school or workplace uses Google servers for their "private" systems and the occasional cross-communication sometimes gets confusing. I have three Google accounts (similar reasons) but am careful to only use one of them for messaging, and I keep my calendar with Apple because the devices I use for mail and calendar are either iOS or OS-X.
The adaptor is called a USB hub, and it has been around since USB 1.0.
If the hub itself is not powered, the power available to the hub has to be shared among all devices connected to the hub. How much that is, depends on the USB specification. Not all USB devices take power from the connection.
If the hub is powered, check the power specifications for the hub itself. These will vary quite a bit with product.
Hubs always have to share the USB bandwidth, whatever that is, among connected devices. USB port, device and hub specifications, connectors, cables can all impose limits on bandwidth.