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  1. Default Rv'ing with babies; RVs in the mountains and reserving campgrounds

    Hi all,

    Great resource. We're planning on travelling from Ireland next May, and following what seems to be a fairly well worn route from Boston to Seattle, via Ontario, Duluth, Great Forks, Banff and Vancouver. The slightly tricky bit is that it will be with children of 6 and 3 and a new born who will only be a couple of months old.

    We planning on renting an RV, class C or A, and the info on the site has been brilliant on route planning and what to expect. However there are a few queries that I haven't been able to find an answer for.

    1. What is the seating layout when driving in a Class C (or Class A) rv. Do the seats take a standard child seat that can be attached with a seatbelt. Or is there no such thing as a generic rv seat?

    2. How limited are you in a big RV in the mountains? Do you have to stay on Interstates. Presuming that a big class C would let you go to most places?

    3. And finally, we're taking a fairly leisurely 6 weeks to get across, driving for maybe 2 hours a day. With the kids, we want to have the flexibility of not having to reach a certain campground by nightfall, but I'm slightly worried about the need to book. In May/June would it just be the popular sites that would be booked out?

    Many thanks,

    Renno

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums,

    1. What is the seating layout when driving in a Class C (or Class A) rv. Do the seats take a standard child seat that can be attached with a seatbelt.
    I am not sure on this one but it seems to be a grey area. You will generally have 2 front car seats and then a sideways sofa and front and rear facing dinette seats. I think that child seats are designed for forward and for rear facing seats and for the youngest possibly the front seat with correct designed baby seat would be best. The rear belts are normally a lap belt and I would want to know they are attached to the chassis and not the bench seat for security. Unless someone has the definitive answer I would enquire through the rental company and see what is suggested/normal.

    2. How limited are you in a big RV in the mountains? Do you have to stay on Interstates. Presuming that a big class C would let you go to most places?
    Whereas they are not as nimble as a car you can pretty much take them anywhere a car can go, but there are some mountain roads that have a length/weight restriction, but generally speaking you will be fine.

    3. And finally, we're taking a fairly leisurely 6 weeks to get across, driving for maybe 2 hours a day. With the kids, we want to have the flexibility of not having to reach a certain campground by nightfall, but I'm slightly worried about the need to book. In May/June would it just be the popular sites that would be booked out?
    Splendid.

    Without booking there are no guarantees but there is normally a good selection of campgrounds but you will probably struggle to get in and around the popular national parks such as Grand canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone e.t.c. It would be good to get an idea of where you may end up and note details of campgrounds and phone numbers so you could call ahead.

    Heres some great info on R.V'ing from the planning pages of R.T.A.

    Ask away if there are any other questions regarding your trip.

    Dave.

    This link may help out.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-28-2008 at 08:12 AM. Reason: Added link.

  3. Default

    Thanks Dave,

    Research ploughing on. I was falling back on my (probably very European) inner worries regarding not having the kids strapped into chassis attached, three point seat belts, but the arguments I've come across regarding likelihood of a big rv coming worse off in a crash have eased my fears (a bit). I still haven't been able to find out whether most new rentable rv's have a passenger airbag that can be disabled. CruiseAmerica haven't been replying to my mails, and I haven't got round to ringing them. Anyone any ideas?

    One other query? We want to try and camp as often as not in State Parks and the like, but I hadn't realised how rare it is for a State Park to have a full hook up. I appreciate that there are a lot of variables involved, but how many days consecutive boondocking are realistic in a 30 foot C class, with two adults and three small children? One night - a week - somewhere in between?

    Thanks!

    Paul

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Renno View Post
    I appreciate that there are a lot of variables involved, but how many days consecutive boondocking are realistic in a 30 foot C class, with two adults and three small children? One night - a week - somewhere in between?

    Thanks!

    Paul
    Hi Paul,

    Most of the R.V's come equipped with a push button start generator that runs off the Motorhomes Fuel supply. These are often charged at an hourly usage rate by the rental company but without a hook up you will need to run it when heating water,cooking e.t.c if you are parked up for long periods. As long as you have food and fuel your only restriction will be how quickly you use the water supply and fill up the waste tanks. I am not sure about State parks but most of the large National parks will have dump stations near to the campground, where you can empty the waste and top up your fresh water tanks, even where they have no hook ups so it doesn't become an issue. Most also have a shower block and toilets so a short walk will save your own water supplies.
    Without any services available and without being wasteful, but also not being to careful I would have thought you would be okay for 3 or 4 days or so and a lot longer if you take quick showers and do things like use your washing up water to flush the loo.

    Research ploughing on. I was falling back on my (probably very European) inner worries regarding not having the kids strapped into chassis attached, three point seat belts, but the arguments I've come across regarding likelihood of a big rv coming worse off in a crash have eased my fears (a bit). I still haven't been able to find out whether most new rentable rv's have a passenger airbag that can be disabled. CruiseAmerica haven't been replying to my mails, and I haven't got round to ringing them. Anyone any ideas?
    I am surprised Cruise America have not replied to your enquiry about the seat belts e.t.c. Many families travel safely all the time, and I don't wish to worsen your fears but I am not sure the "arguments" you have come across bear much weight. Certainly the R.V. may well come of best but a poorly secured child may not if the impact is enough to throw them around inside.
    I don't wish to alarm you and I am sure everything will be fine and hopefully it will not even be an issue, but I would still find out what's what, just for peace of mind.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-11-2009 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Typo

  5. Default

    Well, 5000 miles and seven fantastic weeks of road trip later, we're back in Ireland after a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. So many memories, so many stories.

    I just wanted to post on this thread several answers to my original questions, in case anyone ever comes upon this when researching a trip.

    1. What is the seating layout when driving in a Class C (or Class A) rv. Do the seats take a standard child seat that can be attached with a seatbelt.
    The layout on a Cruise America 30 ft long C class - (Ford chassis) was as Southwest Dave suggested - two seats up front, side facing sofa and dinette seating four. However we had slight problems positioning a baby seat. Trailfinders in Ireland and Cruise America had guaranteed a three point harness for a child safety seat on our rental. However once we were at the rental location, they knew of no such promise, and in fact there was no way such a promise could and should have been made. The only two three point harnesses are on the drivers and passengers seats, and the airbag on the passenger seats couldn't be disabled (or at least it wouldn't be worth disabling) Our carseat didn't work with lap belts, so we were nearly turning around and flying home again (well maybe not quite), when we turned to the nearest Walmart and bought a new carseat that was compatable with lap belts. The baby was put on the rearmost dinette seat, with the table collapsed. I'm not quite sure what would have happened in a crash, but we lived to tell the tale.

    The moral being I suppose, is that this could be a dealbreaker if you had to have a chassis attached three point belt to attach the car seat

    2. How limited are you in a big RV in the mountains? Do you have to stay on Interstates. Presuming that a big class C would let you go to most places?
    Pretty naiive question looking back on it. We got stuck for a night in the Bighorns in early June - 18 inches of snow - and it was pretty hairy in a big RV with not very good windscreen wipers and made it just about. If you were coming onto a road that wasn't suitable for an RV, you'd know all about it.

    3. And finally, we're taking a fairly leisurely 6 weeks to get across, driving for maybe 2 hours a day. With the kids, we want to have the flexibility of not having to reach a certain campground by nightfall, but I'm slightly worried about the need to book. In May/June would it just be the popular sites that would be booked out?
    Again Southwest Dave was spot on. We used Woodalls extensively, but never booked ahead. The trip was the last hald of May and June, so everywhere was deserted. The one exception was the RV park in Yellowstone (whose name escapes me). We didn't book, it was full up, and we spent the night with no hook up, no furnace and temperatures of 24. Chilly.

    I appreciate that there are a lot of variables involved, but how many days consecutive boondocking are realistic in a 30 foot C class, with two adults and three small children? One night - a week - somewhere in between?
    We were thrust in at the deepend with a dud coach battery. For the first three nights (night 1 as a virgin RV'er I didn't turn on the hookup, nights 2 and 3 were spent in the Catskills with no hookup), we only had enough power to run a couple of lights for a couple of hours. Generators are obviously a bit of a no no after 8, so we were plunged into darkness fairly early. Once the battery was evetually replaced, life was easier, and we could exist without power, as long as we were careful. As suggested though, our waste tanks would fill up every other day. In reality we only had about four or five non-hook up nights in the trip.

    I'll maybe post some other memories on another thread, and will be checking out the forum regularly. Now I can put pictures to the names it means so much more. My specialist subject is probably "The playgrounds of rural northern USA"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Thanks so much for the report

    I've actually commissioned a new article about RVing with babies -- it will be published in mid-July and so I certainly appreciate your insights.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Ditto.

    Hi Renno,
    Thanks for popping in and sharing your thoughts, it sounds as though you had a wonderful time.
    I will certainly be keeping an eye out for a further report and hopefully some photo's.

    Dave.

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