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  1. #1

    Default RV Denver to San Francisco, 2 weeks late April

    Hi,

    First off, I apologize for my english as it not my first language.

    My girlfriend and I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, and have been invited to a wedding in Saint Louis. We were surfing around trying to plan a vacation following the wedding and this is how we found this friendly forum.

    Our initial plan is to fly to Denver around the 13th of April, rent an RV and drive it to San Francisco where we will fly back to Copenhagen around the 1st of May.

    Do you have any suggestions for the route? We would like to visit some of the great natural wonders and national parks but will probably prefer less crowded destinations if given a choice.

    We are a bit unsure about the climate in the Rockies in April.
    We are also a bit unsure whether an RV is the best solution at this time of year. Some RV rental companies tell you that the RV's may be "winter-ized", which could tip the scale in favour of a rental car instead? (My understanding is that there will be no functioning water systems in the RV, taking out a lot of the convenience factor from the equation). Does anyone have any experiences they would like to share?

    Thanks for your help,

    Kristian

  2. #2

    Default

    Welcome to RoadTrip America!

    First of all, one way RV rental is going to be very expensive and maybe even quite tricky to find. Have you a lead on that yet? It would be considerably cheaper, and considerably easier to visit national parks, if you were open to the idea of renting a car and stopping in motels/hotels.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Welcome to RoadTrip America!
    Thank you very much :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    First of all, one way RV rental is going to be very expensive and maybe even quite tricky to find. Have you a lead on that yet? It would be considerably cheaper, and considerably easier to visit national parks, if you were open to the idea of renting a car and stopping in motels/hotels.
    I am currently investigating through a couple of Danish travel agencies and a few of the larger rental companies I found with Google - so far I have one offer from Moturis in Denver for, I think, around $1800 + additional mileage above 2000 miles. I am not sure if this sounds reasonable but I was expecting something in the vicinity of perhaps $3000.

    However, with no guarantee that the RV will be de-winterized at the time we will definitely look into the car-option as well. We do not have any RV experience but the thought of being able to stop anywhere for a cup of coffee or a change of clothes and not having to pack and unpack luggage from 16 motels on the way seems to be worth a bit of hassle and/or money?

    Is it more tricky to get into the National Parks in an RV than in a car?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default More restrictions

    Quote Originally Posted by NiceBacon View Post
    Is it more tricky to get into the National Parks in an RV than in a car?
    There is no restriction about entering a national park with a RV versus a car, but in most parks, where you can drive is certainly restricted. Many of the roads, (tunnels & etc.) in national parks were not built to accommodate RVs and so you have to be flexible and follow the rules for access. Each park is different with respect to these restrictions..

    Mark

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

    Default Car travel tips

    Your English is great!

    Quote Originally Posted by NiceBacon View Post
    We do not have any RV experience but the thought of being able to stop anywhere for a cup of coffee or a change of clothes and not having to pack and unpack luggage from 16 motels on the way seems to be worth a bit of hassle and/or money?

    Is it more tricky to get into the National Parks in an RV than in a car?
    I'm certainly not opposed to RVing. However, it does make things trickier. As Mark said, some national parks have restrictions on where RVs can drive. Others have roads that RVs are allowed on but, to be honest, I would hate to be driving in RV on them. Narrow, twisty roads and RVs just don't mix, in my opinion. But some people love RVing so much that it's worth it to them to deal with the negatives.

    We used to have truck/camper combination. We later had a truck and towed a trailer. But we never took it on long roadtrips. We usually used it for longer camping trips close to home. When the kids were young and we had LOTS of their toys and other things to pack, it was really convenient. But neither of us enjoyed driving this nor did we enjoy paying for all the extra fuel costs, so we rarely took this rig more than 300-400 miles from home. The only way I would roadtrip in an RV is if I was a full-timer, or close to full-time anyway, and had numerous weeks/months to be on the road. But that's just me. I know plenty of people would disagree with me on this.

    I can't speak to the weather issues as I've only been there in the summer. However, here's just one route suggestion. But there are many good choices so this is just one idea.
    * Go a tad north from Denver to enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park.
    * Take I-70 and 24 to Leadville, CO. Cool town.
    * Take 50 to Ouray, then 550 south to Durango (driving the Million Dollar Highway in the process)
    * Go west on 160 to Mesa Verde National Park (cool cliff dwellings)
    * Continue on 160 through some truly amazing scenery to 89 and 64 which will take you into Grand Canyon National Park - South Entrance.
    * South on 180/64 to William, AZ, then west on I-40 through parts of the Old Route 66. Find out more about things to do and see along this route here.
    * Once you get to California, you can either stay inland visiting Death Valley, King's Canyon, Yosemite, etc. or you can continue to the coast and travel up to San Francisco via the beautiful coastal highway. Both are good choices. I guess it depends on what appeals to you.

    You might want to search around this discussion boards for other potential routes. There are many you could choose from.

    If you decide to go the car/hotel route instead, here's a few tips to help with the coffee, pack/unpack issues that might appeal to you.

    First, the coffee. Starbucks has made this an obsession in this country. You would be hard-pressed to drive more than a few miles in any populated area without coming across some kind of drive-up coffee place. This is more common in some parts of the country than others but, really, good coffee shouldn't be hard to find in most places. And most gas stations have a small mini-mart attached. It's amazing how many of these have gourmet coffees, lattes, etc. I suggest you consider purchasing an inexpensive thermos for about $20, give or take a few bucks. Then you can easily fill up along the way without having to make coffee. Just a thought. We also advocate eating out of a cooler in order to eat more healthy.

    Second, the packing/unpacking dilemma. I have really found a great way to resolve this issue. I carry an extra, small duffle bag. Even a large tote bag would do. I also carry a mesh bag that I use for dirty clothes. I keep my personal hygiene stuff in the small duffle bag ready-to-go. If I'm staying at a hotel, I just pack the duffle bag from my suitcase (which is usually just a bigger duffle bag). I'll put in my clothes for the next day and anything else I might want (reading material, for example). Then I just carry the small duffle bag to my room. In the morning, I just toss the duffle bag in the trunk and I'm good to go. Easy.

    That night, I remove the dirty clothes from the duffle bag and put them in the mesh laundry bag. (Although I tend to forget this a lot so I'll use a plastic bag or something else handy.) Then I get my change of clothes from the suitcase and put it in the small duffle and repeat the process.

    It's really quite easy. Maybe takes 2-3 minutes, 5 minutes max, and I don't have to lug heavier luggage in and out of the car.

    BTW, I first thought of this idea the first time I visited Vegas. I would bet the walk from the parking lot to the check-in desk, and then onto my room was a good mile. And I was carrying a huge duffle bag stuffed with things. I almost put my back out. Now I only carry the larger duffle/suitcase into a hotel if I'm staying for several days or more.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 01-09-2008 at 01:35 PM. Reason: added info

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks a lot for the great input guys - we will certainly take it into consideration.

    Do you have any suggestions about which route to take and what to see? Any well-kept secrets or exceptional adventures out there, off the beaten track?

    Any ideas about what to expect weather-wise in April?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Re-read my post (see above)

    I edited it and I might have done that after you read it. I added a suggested route. You might want to re-read it and check it out.

    However, there are so many options, this is just one of many suggestions. One of my favorite route-planning tools is at AAA. Click on "maps & directions" and "plan a trip" and have fun planning all the possibilities.

  8. #8

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    Judy,

    Thank you very much for your suggestions. I have been plotting in the route on google maps (see the route here) to get an idea of the scale. Denmark is a very small and flat country so we a trying to get to grips with the reality of being able to drive for more than an hour without hitting an ocean.

    Now I am getting a bit worried if we are trying to cover too much ground this time. Should we consider flying home from LA, San Diego or perhaps even dropping the state of California all together?

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    One of my favorite route-planning tools is at AAA. Click on "maps & directions" and "plan a trip" and have fun planning all the possibilities.
    I am just playing around with it now - you are right - it is really helpful!

  10. #10

    Default

    Your route map suggests it'll be around 2,366 miles. This is perfectly possible in the number of days that you have. I did a 4,000 mile trip through California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah a couple of years ago and, although a little tiring on occasion, it was not a problem at all. Although we were in a car - which obviously gained us a speed advantage over travelling in an RV - we did spend time time each evening looking for a motel or campground, so I think we'd be about equal.

    I'd just go for it and see how you get on. So long as you keep your required arrival date in San Fran in mind then you'll be fine. The worst comes to the worst then you'll just have to make changes whilst you're en route. As an example, you might choose to cut loose the idea of heading south from Yosemite and running up the coast, taking the direct route from Yosemite back San Fran. That'd save some serious time if needed.

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