I just thought I would add a summary, of the Denver to Four Corners 2009 RoadTrip.
so here goes !
This was straight forward and really became part 2 of a 2 part trip. We wanted to see places we cut out of our first trip due to time restrictions, but rather than going over "old ground," flying into Denver and adding more of Colorado as well as New Mexico to the trip made the most sense. [To us anyway]
We managed to secure a good deal about 14 months before our planned travel date, it was known as an "Early bird special". Not Knowing 100% for sure if our trip plan would become reality or not, due to a weaker Pound at the time and the uncertainty in the economic climate, it was reassuring to know they had a full deposit refund policy.
We was very pleased with the Denver office, we asked for an early pick up and everything was ready for us. We returned the RV late due to the adverse weather conditions and although they could have exercised their right to charge us a late return fee, they didn't. The RV was in good shape, clean and tidy although getting near to the Cruise America's "retirement age", even though it was only 3 or 4 years old and had covered less than 80,000 miles. Friendly staff that also helped us to arrange our airport transport.
I would definitely use them again.
Over the next few Months I kept an eye on flight prices in and out of Denver which helped me identify a good price when I saw one. United Airlines came up with a cracking deal just after Christmas 2009 so we took the plunge and booked them. Non refundable, so no going back now !
Due to the economic situation all companies were cutting back on their flight plans and our direct flight was now non existent, removed from the schedule. They offered us a full refund or flights for the same money with a change over in Chicago. We had got such a good deal and with the flight prices on the up, we took what was on offer. The change over in Chicago wasn't that smooth and they managed to lose one of our cases on route to Denver. Would I use them again ? Well these things happen and if they offered the best deal, Yes I would.
Tom Tom Sat Nav.
To be honest I never thought I would use one of these as I am a paper map fan, but I was bought one for my Birthday. Funny that, it was my navigator for this trip and his wife who got it for me ! Lol.
It's discussed quite a few times on here and my verdict is as follows.
It turned out to be a very good back up aid, but you had to let it know who was boss !
[Me and Tom had a few fall outs, but 'he' soon came around to my way of thinking] Using the paper maps and pre planned routes the Sat Nav could be used in two way's, by putting in "way points" to your journey so it wouldn't go the most direct route or if you were confident of the direction you were headed I went my way and 'Tom' was really quick to re calculate the new route.
Do not rely solely on the Sat Nav, know where you want to go and how you want to get there as well as knowing what you are passing by, use the paper map where possible to get the best enjoyment from your journey.
The strengths of the Sat Nav for me were at the end of the day, where it would take you direct to an address such as your campsite, or a restaurant without the need for town plan maps or finding someone to ask in the dark.
As we had a lot of time between booking and actually travelling, it gave us time to save some money towards the trip. I then kept an eye on the exchange rates and every time the Dollar got near to $1.70 to the Pound I purchased some. With a low of $1.39 it can add to the "spending pot" quite significantly if you get it right, and I reckon I made us about an extra $300 doing it, plus I enjoyed "the game". Win, win !
The trip !
Brilliant ! We love travelling at the tail end of the season, and despite some unusually cold weather at times, it hasn't put us off one little bit. I only wish we could of added a few extra day's but work restrictions for some did not allow for this. We travelled an average of 170 miles a day over the 12 day's in the RV and was on the go everyday for 10 or 12 hours and still had to pass things by, so don't over do the miles ! The people we met were so friendly and like our first trip, makes it all the more special.
[Although rates fluctuate I have averaged everything out to £1= $1.6 ]
Cruise America RV. Cost includes, 2040 miles, bedding kits, Kitchen kits and all other associated costs for 12 nights. $1570 [saved $560]
Flights x 4 $2720 [saved $400 on previous best prices]
Hotel 1 night x 2 rooms $145 [saved $50 booking direct]
Gas expense, Av $2.7 per Gal [2040 miles @9.5mpg] = $580
Daily expenses [food, visits, campground fees etc] $2,600
Trip total for 4 adults $7,615 or £4,750.
One thing I might change regarding the numbers is that this could now well become part 2 of a 3 part trip !
If you have any questions on this trip/ area or RV travel queries, just ask !