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  1. Default Coast to Coast May 2009

    Hi

    I'm currently planning on undertaking a roadtrip with 3 other people from Boston to San Francisco. From Boston going to see Niagara falls, then down to Washington D.C and then into Tennessee (not quite sure what to see from here) but then want to end up in Nevada to see the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, then onto Los Angeles and then following the big sur up to and finally including San Francisco.

    For the trip we plan on hiring ourselves an RV. I am currently searching through websites to try and find a good deal. There seems to be a lot of differences on prices. For example i've looked at the many cruise america site, cheap-rv-rentals.com and motorhomebookers.com. The differences they are quoting on the same journey can have a difference of about £1000. I would be extremely grateful of any advice, which sites are best, ones to avoid, etc.

    I would also be very grateful if anyone could point me in the direction of a good campsite guide. Although i understand that in certain states you can park up in car parks for the nights some people advise not too. Could get yourself into trouble.

    Pre-thanks for anyone that replies

    Tom (UK)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    When you have an RV, your best bet for places to stop is going to be a campground, followed by a truck stop. Campgrounds will generally have a dump station. Check out some state parks along your route. I've found many of these parks to have excellent facilities and decent prices. You can find out more information about them by searching online for "state parks" in the specific state you will be visiting.

    Another decent guide is Woodall's. They have a (huge) country-wide paperback guide if you want. I prefer to use the Web since paper guides tend to be out of date as soon as they're printed.


    How much time will you be taking for this trip?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Hi there,

    For the trip we plan on hiring ourselves an RV. I am currently searching through websites to try and find a good deal. There seems to be a lot of differences on prices. For example i've looked at the many cruise america site, cheap-rv-rentals.com and motorhomebookers.com. The differences they are quoting on the same journey can have a difference of about £1000.
    This is quite normal. I would keep checking for "special deals" that may come up. I recently booked one and the difference between the highest and lowest quote was over $1500. [Offer now ended] Two others to try are El Monte and Roadbear and keep an eye out for all the extra charges that are added to the original nightly price.

    The National parks have good camp sites and lots of them offer free shuttle bus services so you don't have to pack up each day to get around and are in wonderful settings.
    Here is there website. If you plan on visiting more than 4 parks on your journey it's worth buying the annual pass to save money.

  4. Default thanks

    Thanks Mass Tim and Southwest Dave for your replies. Currently the plan is to do the journey in 3 weeks but there are concerns in the group as to whether we would then not have enough time to visit the sites.

    You mentioned parking up at truck stops. Are these fairly safe places to sleep. If possible it would be good to park up at a few free places to keep the costs down. I recognise that we would have to use proper campsites every now and then if for nothing more than to get rid of the waste water.

    Thanks for the websites, these look most informative and should help with the planning. I spoke to someone through the main cruise america website and she confirmed to me that the sites i was looking at are legit which has helped put my mind at ease. She mentioned that there were a lot of fraudulent sites around last summer.

    When driving an RV what would you expect an average MPH would be? I'm calculating that maximum speed is going to be 55 most places. Also as i have never visited the states i was wondering about Toll roads, are these very common and if so what sort of prices are you looking at paying?

    Thanks again

    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Depending on the particular state's speed limit, you can drive a RV in the 55 to 75 mph range on the Interstate highways. Generally, the higher speed limits are out west. However, I have never driven a rental RV, so I don't know if they have a governor on them or not.

    Major chain truck stops on Interstate highways are generally safe, but quite noisy.

    Yes, we have toll roads, toll bridges, and toll tunnels. A large portion of them are in the northeast. My mapping software (Microsoft Streets & Trips) indicates a toll road in green. It does not identify toll bridges and tunnels though. Here is a listing of roads and bridges.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default One way trip?

    I recognise that we would have to use proper campsites every now and then if for nothing more than to get rid of the waste water.
    You can get rid of waste at many Dump stations across the States.
    Truck stops are O.K and so are some Walmart stores with the managers permission. They wouldn't want you to set up camp get the chairs out and have a few beers and a BBQ but they often let you find a quiet corner to enable you to park up and sleep.
    Here's a link about Boondocking as it's known.

    When driving an RV what would you expect an average MPH would be? I'm calculating that maximum speed is going to be 55 most places.
    On the Interstates I found a 30ft class C to be fine at 65 m.p.h without it sounding "worked". Once you find hills they quickly scrub speed off and you want to try and avoid kicking it down a gear to soon or it'll start drinking liquid quicker than an alcoholic during happy hour. If you get on winding mountain passes then it really will knock your speed down, great for enjoying the scenery though. ;-)
    For checking your journey time I would work on an average of 50 m.p.h. [400 miles = 8 hours] to be safe.
    Currently the plan is to do the journey in 3 weeks but there are concerns in the group
    There is time but it is unclear whether this is a one way trip or you are returning to Boston which will make a big difference.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-18-2008 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Added info

  7. Default

    Sorry, yes we are planning on doing this just one way. From the route i described earlier we would be looking at covering about 4000 miles, but that's not covering any detours. With that sort of mileage we'd have to cover 200 miles daily to keep on track but would probably like the odd couple of days in certain places. e.g LA, San Fran. to take in more sites.

    I think we would be looking to make time up in the mid west. Apart from scenery i haven't found anything that is a must see.

    With campsites is booking a must or do they cater for you just turning up? Or is it purely dependant on how busy it is? We were planning for May as hoping this is a quieter time for tourists in the US, assuming that most americans do not take their summer vacation until july/august time

    As always, many thanks

    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    There are pros and cons to diesel vs. petrol RV's. Diesels have more "grunt" for pulling mountain grades, especially if they are turbocharged, and get better fuel mileage than gas engines. This is offset by the considerably higher price per gallon for diesel fuel over here. Right now, petrol is in the $1.70 a gallon range and diesel is in the $2.50 a gallon range.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Hey Tom.

    One way you should be fine, covering 2-300 miles a day in the States is a breeze compared to here in the U.K, especially as you get further West. I would expect your trip to get nearer 5-5500 miles with detours. Some days you can make more miles and less on others. On the other hand you could spend 3 weeks in the Southwest and only see parts of the many wonders there. I think you need to sit down with your mates and make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to how long to spend travelling and how many seeing the sights.

    With campsites is booking a must or do they cater for you just turning up? Or is it purely dependant on how busy it is?
    That pretty much sums it up, and the nearer you get to big attractions like the Grand canyon, Yosemite [a great place nr San Fran] the harder it will be.

    As always, many thanks
    Your welcome, keep asking away as much as you need.

    Note] All rentals I have come across tend to go for V10 gas engines [V8 on the smaller units] not Diesel power unless you go for the extra expense of a large A class that are a lot dearer to rent.

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