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  1. Default first time rv trip- southwest to san diego (summer)

    I am currently trying to plan an 8 day road trip from Colorado to San Diego. Any advice on all aspects would be greatly appreciated.

    We will need to rent an rv that is comfortable for 3 adults & two small children. My son, who is 5, has special needs (cp) & my daughter will be 2.
    The places we would like to see are: New Mexico, Taos & Sante Fe (I love Georgia O'Keefe), Arizona-Sedona & Grand Canyon. The places I am not sure about are: Colorado, Mesa Verde & Four Corners & Utah, Zion Park.

    I think that 8 days will give us lots of time to relax & explore. I need help on planning our days in each location (how many days do we need in Sedona for example?) Are there any specific rv parks that we should stay at (kid friendly etc..) Is there something that we should see that I haven't mentioned? And if anyone knows places that are most accessible for my son (he uses a walker & we can use a stroller).

    Where is the best place to stay when we go to the Grand Canyon? And how far in advance do we need to book an rv park for summer travel, specifically the last week of July.

    I'm sure I have tons of questions that I haven't posted & haven't even thought about.

    Waiting for all your good advice!!!! Thanks.

  2. #2
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    The Good Sam Guide is probably the most accurate, unbiased RV park guide we use. Usually avail on their website or at Camping World stores.
    AAA has a guide too, but much smaller, and not always available.

    A late model class C, gas Motorhome usually will do the trick for families, you might consider a longer model to rent with your needs.

    The kids will love it.

    The only gripes we ever hear about visiting the Southwest are it can be crowded, and reservations are absolutely essential.

    KOA RV parks are usually OK, but are tending to be pricy all of the sudden.

    Try not to cram too much into too tight a time frame.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default This is going to be a great trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by zamy View Post
    I am currently trying to plan an 8 day road trip from Colorado to San Diego.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We will need to rent an rv that is comfortable for 3 adults & two small children. My son, who is 5, has special needs (cp) & my daughter will be 2.
    Here is some information that might be helpful to you:

    An overview about the types of RVs that are available
    An overview about how to rent a RV
    A checklist that you ought to read and take with you when you pick up the rental
    Some tips about traveling with physical challenges -- (I bet you could offer US some tips about this)
    You might find a professional trip planner to be helpful with respect to RV rentals and we recommend Tracks & Trails -- they also have one of the RV trip planners we know of.
    An overview of the types of campgrounds for RVers
    And a look at boondocking -- camping in a RV, but not at an established campground
    The places I am not sure about are: Colorado, Mesa Verde & Four Corners & Utah, Zion Park.
    One of the advantages of visiting national parks and many national monuments is that they are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service which is tasked with ensuring that mobility-challenged visitors can see as much of a place as possible. Every web site for the national parks has a section on mobility access and you should read those sections.
    I'm sure I have tons of questions that I haven't posted & haven't even thought about.
    Come back when you think of those questions.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
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    1,703

    Default Pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross & Alice View Post
    KOA RV parks are usually OK, but are tending to be pricy all of the sudden.
    I am finding this to be true of their other lodging options as well - in both cabin and tent rentals - in many parts of the country. I don't know but I think they are trying to position themselves as different from the other campgrounds somehow, which may alienate a lot of potential customers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Always a bit high, imho

    I've always thought that their prices are a tad higher than they should be. The advantage to them, imho, is that if you don't have time to research other options in the area, that you know you'll be staying at a relatively clean and decent campground. Their properties do vary a lot with some being nicer than others but I've never gone to one that's been a dive yet.

    We'll usually get the $10 Kamping Kard that saves you 10% on camping fees. It usually pays for itself in 4 visits for a tent-camper. The savings for an RV-camper should usually take 3 visits.

    One of the things that I'm finding more-and-more often is that nicer parks in some areas are RV only. For a tent-camper, this is pretty frustrating. In my experience, KOAs always take tents. Maybe some don't but I haven't come across one yet.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 04-23-2007 at 07:33 AM. Reason: added more

  6. Default thanks for the advice...need a little more

    In the eight days we are planning from Colorado to San Diego is it reasonable to see the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Taos & Santa Fe with some rest & relaxation in between?
    WE will be spending our first week before the road trip in Estes Park so I am not sure if we need to go to Mesa Verde or Four Corners.
    What about Zion in Utah? Should we save that for another time?
    Does anyone know the best route to take with all our stops?

    Has anyone been to the Petrified Forest or Joshua tree?

    I don't want to overload on the parks & I guess we need to keep things somewat simple since we have small kids. On the other hand this is a chance for us to see the Southwest & who knows when we will be able to do this again.
    By the way, we live in Israel. We usually come to the states, specifically San Diego for my son's treatment, every year or so.

    Also, can someone tell me a little bit about what it's like to stay in an rv park? And, how is it getting around with an rv, is there special parking for rvs at national parks?

    Thanks again for all your help.
    I really want this trip to be a success & an amazing experience for all of us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default It's 's always good to be flexible

    It's hard to know how your family will do, especially with kids. I say "be flexible"!

    Estes Park to Taos via I-25, 160, 159/522 (350 miles)
    Taos to Santa Fe via 84 (75 miles)
    Santa Fe to Sedona via 25, I-40, I-17 (415 miles)
    Sedona to Grand Canyon via I-17, I-40, 64 (120 miles)
    Grand Canyon to San Diego via 64, I-40, 89, 71, 60, I-10, 78, 111, I-8 (500 miles)
    This is roughly 1500 miles. This should be do-able without feeling too rushed. Just plan adequate time for the longer legs.

    Mesa Verde, Four Corners, and Zion will definitely add miles. Mesa Verde/Four Corners only adds about 120 miles to the whole trip for 1620 total miles. Still do-able, imho.

    If you also add Zion to it, it makes the trip closer to 1900 miles. The miles might be getting a bit high for the kids, I think. Plus parts of the road from Grand Canyon to Zion is very windy with some high grades. I got stuck behind a semi-truck going about 20 mph on part of this road for quite awhile before he could even pull over to let me and the other 5-6 cars behind him pass. If you find yourself not able to go any faster than that in the RV, it's going to take you a long time to drive those miles. I would think that would add some stress, too. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do it. It's just something to take into consideration.

    If you skip Mesa Verde/Four Corners, the Petrified Forest is right on your route via I-40. The petrified logs and formations are very cool. I think it's worth going to. I haven't been to Joshua Tree. Also, if you go this way, you can enjoy some of the fun Route 66 stuff that you'll find all along this road. Gallup and Albuquerque are great places to stop at, too. If you decide to do Mesa Verde/Four Corners, I wouldn't bother back-tracking to the Petrified Forest though.

    Personally, if it were me, I would probably do Mesa Verde/Four Corners and leave off Zion. On the way to Mesa Verde, make sure you leave some time to explore Durango. This is a very cool place. You'll be driving through some amazing desert on this route. But it's your call.

    There is special parking for RVs at national parks so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. You might want to make sure you get to the Grand Canyon quite early in the day because it's popular and parking for any kind of vehicle gets hard to find as the day goes on.

    I love camping and staying in these parks. Most parks will have some or all of these types of amenities: showers, laundry, pool, hot-tub, playground, trails, mini-golf, etc. One of the things I like best about staying in campgrounds is that people are geared for being outside. I love to set up my tent and then go for a walk around the campground. It's a good way to shake off all the driving but I also just enjoy checking out the wide variety of RVs people have and the way they set up their camps. I also like looking at the various license plates to see where people come from. Of course, hitting the pool and/or hot tub are a must! Your kids will enjoy the opportunity to play with other kids. And people are usually pretty friendly. I often strike up conversations on my walks and at the pool. That can be lots of fun, too.

    Make sure you understand how to do all the RV stuff like filling tanks, dumping, hook-up to power, etc. Your rental agency should go over this with you thoroughly. Don't leave there until you're comfortable with all of this.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Default thank you Judy....& a question about rv rentals

    Thanks so much Judy for all your detailed advice. It's helping me get this trip together. I think we may skip Mesa Verde so that we will have lots of time to enjoy the places we would like to see & not spend too much time driving.

    Yesterday I called CRuise America for a quote & the salesperson there told me that they need to charge a $2000 drop me for a one way!!! Making my 8 day rental over $4000!!! That is crazy!

    I sent an e-mail to El MOnte & they sent me an e-mail back saying that they need to ask permission from the manager if we they can do a one way rental.

    I didn't think that one way rentals were a big deal but I guess they are.

    Does anyone know how much a week rental from Denver to LA(or San Diego) should really cost?

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Default It should cost what it costs

    OK, that is a trite response. But anyplace charges what the market will bear. If people are willing to pay those prices, that's what they'll charge. I wish I could help you with RV rentals and knew about their fees. I've never rented one so I'm clueless. If the rental fees and drop-off charges put you over-budget, I'm at a loss of what to advise.

    I have no idea if this is possible with your son's condition, but would tent camping work for you? Rental fees on a van with a lot of space will be less than renting an RV. You will still have to pay a 1-way drop-off fee but that should cost less, too. Even if you have to buy camping gear, you can go to a major retailer like Wal-Mart or Costco and pick this stuff up fairly cheaply. You could always ship it home or donate it to a Goodwill or Salvation Army after your trip is over. Campground fees would be less, too.

    I hope you find a way to make your trip work. Let us know if we can help more.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Resources

    Quote Originally Posted by zamy View Post
    I didn't think that one way rentals were a big deal but I guess they are.
    It is mostly a factor of timing -- and end destination -- I think you might be wise to look at some alternatives -- here is a good site for finding other rental firms.And I would so look into renting one of the leaseback vehicles -- like the ones that Jeff Collison has
    Does anyone know how much a week rental from Denver to LA(or San Diego) should really cost?
    I am not an expert on this -- but I would think you could find such a rental for about $1750 to $2,000 (with the drop-off charges). I am very surprised that the quotes were so high from Cruise America. It really might be wise to speak with the RV Vacation planners at Tracks & Trails -- their services are not free by any stretch of the imagination -- but I just can't believe that they couldn't out you into a package that will meet all of your needs for a sum far more reasonable than what you have been quoted!

    Mark

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