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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bishops Stortford, 15 miles north of London
    Posts
    5

    Default The English Are Comming...

    Hello all,
    Great site BTW.
    We are a family of 5 planning to fly to LAX mid Aug 08 and leave late Aug. We are going to rent an RV and would like your advice on many things. The only thing I have booked as of now is the flights. I have contacted many RV rental companys and many private owners and have pretty much decided on an A Class between 30 - 35'. Bit worried about the size and driving on the RHS. But sure I will get into it soon enough. we plan to drive north towards San Francisco, over to Las Vegas, then to Grand Canyon, back to LA. Our kids are aged from 10 to 16. Looking at the camping sites on the internet we would prefer the scenic wilderness type rather than the sardine type with facilities. Any suggestions for some great sites on beaches, among the Sequoia (that's not spelt correct I'm sure), that sort of thing. The National Parks look fantastic but it looks like many of these have a 25' restriction? We don't want to be spending all our time driving but neither do we want to miss out on the best bits. We are also considering taking the kids to one of the theme parks. Sorry in advance if this has been asked elsewhere I just wanted to get your opinions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    hi there,were from england and we done our first trip in an r.v back in october,it's a great way to travel,we loved every moment.you can book r.v sites in the national parks but they get packed this time of year so you need to book as early as you can. the good thing is with staying in the parks is that they have a free shuttle bus service so you get time of from driving and packing things down. we were in a 30ft 'c' class and there were no problems in the park,they all had some sites to cater for it.
    heres there site for info.
    in vegas we loved this site,an easy location and convenient for the strip.
    heres a report on our trip which started in san fran and headed towards grand canyon and vegas if you fancy a taster of whats to come.
    have a great trip!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bishops Stortford, 15 miles north of London
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Hi Gommy, well what a journey you had there. I have just spent 1 1/2 hours going thru your posts. Excellent stuff. I am very impressed that you kept the diary you will never regret that. My wife and I did a trip in a converted Land Rover in 1987 / 89 thru Africa and she kept a diary. These many years later my daugter (now 16) dug it out and was so impressed.
    Photos supurb well done.
    From what you have said I think we may have taken on too much milage wise and may have to re-think the journey. Planning it is soooo confusing.
    Can I ask why you opted for the C Class RV and not an A Class? As far as I can see there is very little difference in price and the A Class seems to offer more space and better visability. Also did you find you had everything you needed for the trip supplied by the RV Company? ONe of the reasons we are considering a priovate RV Rental is that we thought that we would have more home comforts renting one that is used for traveling by the owner. I have to go now as we are off to France for a long weekend, but eagerly await your responce and am sure will have more questions for you next week. (sorry but you are now my mentor :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Perception and Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by genmar View Post
    Can I ask why you opted for the C Class RV and not an A Class?
    Better look at the fine print again -- if you can find a Class A that is the same cost as a class A -- grab that deal! Class A motorhome (here is a discussion about the various types of RVs) can run more than $100 more per day.
    and the A Class seems to offer more space and better visability.
    Absolutely true -- but for most first-time RVers the thought of driving a big bus-sized vehicle is daunting -- I have driven just about every form of RV out there -- Class As, are as a rule, much easier to drive but Class C's handle like an over-sized pick-up and are therefore more familiar.
    Also did you find you had everything you needed for the trip supplied by the RV Company? ONe of the reasons we are considering a priovate RV Rental is that we thought that we would have more home comforts renting one that is used for traveling by the owner.
    I wouldn't recommend this unless you are positive the "owner" has been forthright about the degree of service on the vehicle. Actually, there is another step -- and if you have sufficient $$ (it is not the least expensive option) I would suggest you speak with the folks at Tracks and Trails The will guarantee that you get a rental RV in the best condition possible...

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    i hope you had a good weekend away!

    Can I ask why you opted for the C Class RV and not an A Class? As far as I can see there is very little difference in price and the A Class seems to offer more space and better visability.
    when in the process of booking the company we favoured only rented out class 'c' s and we felt it was ideal for us. as mark said class 'a' is usually more expensive. i quickly looked at one company and for an 'A' class that sleeps 1-4 people as opposed to a 27ft 'c' class that sleeps 1-5 people the difference for 14 days was in the region of $700.
    i have no first hand experience of an 'A' class but as already said,i have read that people seem to feel more "at home" in a 'c' class. i think one of the advantages of a 'c' class is the bunk over the cab which means you have permanant sleeping qtrs for four people as opposed to having to convert the dinnette area each night and make a bed up.also mentioned somewhere is it's a very large front screen on the 'A' to get all those bugs off and the sun can start to roast you in there,although i'm not so sure thats the case,especially with that air con on,i expect someone will "rubbish" that thought soon,lol.
    Also did you find you had everything you needed for the trip supplied by the RV Company?
    most companys will offer you full kits with your rental,that includes bedding and all the kitchen and dining stuff you need.these are normally charged as extras along with mileage and insurance waivers,so make sure you do the sums as the "cheapest rental" can quickly turn into the dearest one.

    ONe of the reasons we are considering a priovate RV Rental is that we thought that we would have more home comforts renting one that is used for traveling by the owner.
    i also agree with mark here. you will poss get a cheaper deal but will you get the back up you need? i think it's a standard agreement between you and the rental companies that if there are any mechanical faults etc they will get you going again as quickly as they can but there are no compensations for lost time[other than the rental charge for that time possibly].would you be confident that a private owner could get you back on the road as quickly as possible if you were a distance from him,or if in fact he could afford to.at least with a company if it can't be repaired quickly they have the option to get another vehicle to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bishops Stortford, 15 miles north of London
    Posts
    5

    Default Back with more questions

    Hi All,
    We have now booked the RV. After much cogitating we chose 1st Choice RV. I am probably guilty of being a little anal here but I wanted to make sure we were getting the best RV for the trip. SO I took the family to a large RV sales company in Newark (NE of Nottingham) they have a huge selection of Campers and American RV's of all sorts. We had a really good look at both A and C class. Had the kids make up the beds and generally test run everything (sales people were great and just left us to it). I eventually chose the 30' Tioga with dual slides C class as the sleeping arrangements with a double over the cab and the more familiar driving position suited our needs.

    Now I don't know if any of you out there feel the same but when looking at rental company's websites in the US the details of the RV's are quite sparse. In many instances the pictures and diagrams do not match so you may think you are booking a C class with bed over cab only to find that the over cab bit is a storage area with TV. With 1st Choice what you see is what you get. I only hope that they live up to expectations when we get there.

    Anyhoo to the route. We arrive on the 14th Aug and will stay at a hotel for the 1st night. Next day we collect the RV in the AM. OK now I realise that the journey I wish to make is a lot to fit in to a 15 day vacation, but we would really like to see the following in order of importance. Grand Canyon, mountain scenery similar to Tioga Pass Yosemite, Big Sur Coastline, Sequoia, Las Vegas. I have a very rough route I did on Google

    Firstly is this trip doable in 15 days? Obviously we could drive the distance but would we be trying to fit too much in. If so alternative route? Now to the nitty gritty. What exact route do we take. If we leave LA on the 15th AM heading to GC what route should we take? Maybe make a stop around Joshua Tree? When at GC where to stay? Is it possible / recommended to go around GC to take a different route on the way to LV rather than driving back down the same road? Should we look at staying somewhere between GC and LV or just motoring there in one day.

    In LV where to stay? I saw the Circus Circus RV site and thought that might make a good place with it being on the Strip and having stuff for the kids to do? From LV back towards coast. Not sure about Death Valley with it being height of Summer. Where to stay on route to Yosemite? Maybe somewhere on the eastern side of Sequoia NP or / and Kings Canyon? I read a lot about booking National Park RV Camping sites well in advance. How does this work in practice. Surely you are then tied in to getting to a certain place buy a certain day are they really all fully booked in the summer months? I will be bringing my satnav.

    I did look at the triptik website from AAA this looks really good but as I am not a member of the AAA I cannot save my routes. Does anyone know if you can join as an associate or something to enable you to use the software? Have used the Microsoft 2008 Streets and Tips but not much good for camp sites. Quite like the idea of camping out some nights (boon docking ?) But seems to be illegal is this the case? My wife and I spent a year travelling around Africa in the mid 80's in a Land Rover and some of our best memories are of camping out away from it all.

    Well bit of a steam of consciousness but hopefully some of you will be able to offer some good advice.
    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-15-2008 at 07:51 AM. Reason: Added some white space

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    hi there,glad you got it sorted out,exciting times ahead!

    i would say the trip is doable,but you could spend 15 months in this area there are so many wonderfull places. i think with an r.v. you would be extremely lucky to get a site in the n.p's without booking,and even now that maybe to late. if not i would try and book at the grand canyon and yosemite,it is well worth it and the worst that can happen is you don't make it and you lose about $18 a night for the time missed,but to keep close to a schedule it's sometimes good to have a couple of markers [pre booked places] to keep you on track.

    if you can justify the time then i personally would enter the g/c by the southern entrance and leave by the east entrance via "desert view drive" which is a big part of the south rim experience and has many spectacular views along the way including the watchtower by the east entrance,then rather than doubling back carry on through page and kanab and onto zion n.p. for a night and then down the '15' to vegas.again depending on time bryce canyon is also a lovely detour but will take even more time from your schedule. i can't comment on circus circus r.v. park but as i mentioned before we really liked the oasis r.v park.

    death valley will be extremley hot,but it's a fascinating place to drive through and stop for a look but you won't want to be doing any hikes.

    i would try getting as near to mono lake/lee vining for a stop which puts you right on the doorstep of yosemite by way of the tioga pass [hwy120] which you will need to allow a lot of time for a short distance as there is so much to see along the way. we had a lovely meal out of the r.v by the side of tenaya lake,a wonderfull drive. if you can't get a site on the valley floor or mariposa grove,then there are sites at oakhurst and groveland that we stayed at,although i would fear these being booked up at this time of year and will add quite a bit of driving to your day whereas booking in the valley would allow you to be parked up and use the shuttle bus system which is regular and better still free and will save you queing in possible traffic jams.

    hopefully that will help with a few of your questions but don't hesitate if you need more info.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-15-2008 at 07:52 AM. Reason: added some white space

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bishops Stortford, 15 miles north of London
    Posts
    5

    Default it's all in the detail

    Hi Gommy,
    Thanks for the prompt responce. Your points duly noted. Am looking a booking GC campsites today and have just started my little excel SS detailing dates and places. Not sure if this is the best place to post this so may make seperate posting as well. (Editor's Note: it would be moved back here)

    So from LA to GC. Morning 15/08/08 take I10 out of LA then at Junc with H62 head north toward 29 Palms Thru Yucca Valley to Joshua Tree. Take the Park Blvd into the park do the loop round and back up north taking the Utah Trl out joining back up with H62. Camp at 29 Palms Campsite 1st night.

    Morning 16/08/08 take Amboy Rd to Amboy then East to Essex and join I40 thru to Williams and then North to Grand Canyon Village (managed to book Mather Camp site for this night, thanks Gommy). As per Gommy advice Morning 17/08/08 through Page and Kanab and onto Zion n.p. There seem to be a few RV parks here but for some reason the Watchman Campground cannot be booked in advance. Sounds very idillic so will try to get there but can use the other RV parks as fall back.

    Morning 18/08/08 off to LV have booked Oasis but can have a look when there too many to choose from. May stay and extra day here depends on my ability to take all the glitz and glamour :-)
    No a bit stuck. Would love to see the Sequoia's and have read with interest Gommys trip thru Kernville and Johnsondale. Looks to me if we go this way we miss out on Mono Lake and Tioga Pass? What if we take H160 out of LV up to Death Valley onto H190 and join up with I395 at Lone Pine.

    Can We camp amoung the Sequoias along here somewhere? Before going up to Mono Lake. As far as I can see there are no roads into the NP onthe Eastern side.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-15-2008 at 07:54 AM. Reason: added some white space

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Preferred approach

    Quote Originally Posted by genmar View Post
    What if we take H160 out of LV up to Death Valley onto H190 and join up with I395 at Lone Pine.
    This is the normal approach from Las Vegas -- here is a map route used by the locals.
    Can We camp amoung the Sequoias along here somewhere?
    There are NO Sequoias on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
    Before going up to Mono Lake. As far as I can see there are no roads into the NP onthe Eastern side.
    There is a very nice paved road from the eastern side, but I wouldn't advise it unless you are a skilled mountain driver -- here is some more information.


    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    There seem to be a few RV parks here but for some reason the Watchman Campground cannot be booked in advance. Sounds very idillic so will try to get there but can use the other RV parks as fall back.
    i just checked there site and indeed it says no on line bookings at the mo,but i would keep checking back incase there just updating the process or something as it is a lovely site and very convenient for zion canyon and springdale which the free shuttle bus goes to either. there is a phone number which if you don't fancy ringing from the u.k. may be worth taking with you and phoning prior to leaving L.A.
    just for your info you will have to pay a fee to take the r.v. through the tunnel into zion and will have to que for a little while untill they stop the oncoming traffic as you need to drive down the middle,but this is only about $15 iirc.

    Would love to see the Sequoia's and have read with interest Gommys trip thru Kernville and Johnsondale. Looks to me if we go this way we miss out on Mono Lake and Tioga Pass?
    although it would be possible to go via the kernville route and possibly drive across the tioga pass and back from yosemite valley in a day,it would soak up a lot of time.
    it's a lovely drive but it took us 3 days from vegas to oakhurst [nr yosemite] by going through the kern valley and giants forest and the roads are very narrow and twisty in places and will probably be busier at this time of year than they were for us. add the day to see the tioga pass and thats 4 days gone for this part of the trip,therefor i think you would be better off sticking to the death valley to mono lake route and getting a "taste" of the giant trees in the mariposa grove on the southern end of yosemite after your trip over tioga and the valley floor. this could possibly be included with a visit to glacier point,a must see stop in my opinion.

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