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  1. Default RV trip from New York City to Los Angeles

    I'm planning a one-way 36 day RV trip late June-->early August with 5 others going through the following locations:

    NYC-->DC-->(great lakes-->)Chicago-->Yellowstone-->Monument valley-->Grand canyon-->Las Vegas-->Yosemite National Park-->San Francisco-->LA

    1. What do you think of the trip outline? It's only rough and we don't want to plan every single day of the trip as that would take out some of the fun. But just a comment on the outline and suggestions would be nice. Also the insurance details prevent us from passing through death valley. A shame or no big loss?

    2. Is 5 weeks a good length of time for the distance covered? We're planning on staying for 2/3 days at/around each of these checkpoints.

    3. How much of a hassle is an RV? We've done our sums financially, but wondered how difficult it was to park it, especially round big cities. Most of the trip (2/3) will be Yellowstone-->LA and I gather that should be ok. I imagine the 'city' side of the trip NYC, DC, Chicago (1/3 of trip) is less suited to RVing? I guess we like the 'coast-to-coast' idea. Any thoughts on whether it would be feasible would be nice. Maybe we could cut off DC and go instead from NYC to the great lakes/niagara falls before reaching Chicago?

    Some replies would be nice. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default outline

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    5 weeks should make for a nice trip, and there is no shortage of things in the middle to fill in the gaps. The Black Hills/Badlands between Chicago and Yellowstone, and All of the National Parks of Utah between there and Monument Valley to name a few.

    Death Valley is a great place, but the August restriction is not unheard of for RV rentals.

    A RV can be a great choice for this trip overall, but rather than skipping DC, I think I would skip a car completely until after you've visited both NY and DC (using trains/subway to get around), and then pick up the RV for your cross country trip.

    I'd also keep in mind that popular campgrounds inside National Parks can and do fill up quickly, so you might consider making some reservations especially for places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Agreed, plus..........

    Ditto to all the above.

    I would like to emphasise the fact that the National parks campgrounds do get booked up early and if possible, you should tie these dates down [while remaining flexible in between] and book RV sites as soon as the booking window opens. This is normally around 5 months before travel but a limited number of RV sites means they can sell out within hours. You can find all the info at nps.gov and you should take into consideration any other NP's you might want to visit, such as Zion, Bryce canyon and Arches in Utah. The National park settings are as good as it gets in an RV and when there you can use a free shuttle bus to get around most parks while taking time out from driving, something you would have to do quite a bit of just to get in and out of the parks, plus the queuing at the entry kiosks.

    A pretty good place to stay in Vegas is the Oasis RV resort which isn't too far from the strip but has swimming pools, bars and gym etc. Death valley is pretty awesome but it is typical for them not to be covered for any damage and breakdown costs while there. However, with 5 of you to share the cost you could always consider hiring a car for the day and making it a day trip, it'll be hot !!

    With 5 of you sharing an RV and wanting to spend time in NP's [where lodging is expensive and camping cheap] it is one of those times that it becomes 'budget friendly'. However, when working with your budget don't forget to account for extra costs such as, extra mileage charge, campground fees, use of generator, kitchen and bedding kits, [unless you are all taking your own gear] one way drop off charge, extra/named drivers and most likely the biggest additional cost on a trip of this lenght, fuel. Expect a return no greater than 9-10mpg.

    With regards to nominated drivers, anyone wishing to drive who is under 25 years of age will face daily surcharges for the duration of the rental period.

    For City travel it would be wise to find an RV park close to public transport and commute into the City centre, alternatively some RV parks offer free bus services to the centres.

  4. Default thanks...

    Thanks very much for your replies - both really helpful.

    Ideally we would start the RV rental in DC a week later. However, due to the season, it is in fact cheaper renting it from NYC although the rental period is a week longer...weird I know! But I guess if there are good public transport links between the campsite and the city centre then that would be fine.

    The Death Valley day trip sounds great. Regarding the national parks in Utah...are these worth exploring a bit more at the expense of seeing more of Yosemite? Because we figure after 10 days or so round national parks we might just stop off briefly at Yosemite before heading on to San Francisco.

    Oh and costs-wise we've taken into account all those extras but do you have any idea how much we should budget for petrol? Wild estimate: 2000 dollars?

  5. Default

    oh and regarding booking the campsites in advance; do you recommend this just for yosemite, yellowstone and grand canyon or also for the other less well known national parks in Utah? Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    If picking up the RV in NY is cheaper, it still could work out to make more sense to do NY and DC, take the train back to NY and then start your roadtrip. The train trip would only be a few hours.

    Just 10 days inside national parks really isn't much time when you consider the huge areas and vastly different landscapes you'll be talking about, and the fact that you'll be on the road for more than a month.

    $2000 for fuel is likely a little on the low side, I'd plan for at least $2500.

  7. Default

    Oh and just one final dilemma: north rim or south rim? I've read around and everyone seems to have different opinions.

    I guess we'll be coming from Monument Valley so the north rim would be closest and then more convenient for heading to Las Vegas from there. But some say the south rim is more spectacular and generally what you imagine when you think of the grand canyon so not sure...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Very well known.

    Quote Originally Posted by lucazade22 View Post
    oh and regarding booking the campsites in advance; do you recommend this just for yosemite, yellowstone and grand canyon or also for the other less well known national parks in Utah? Thanks.
    These are in fact very well known National parks and the natural beauty of them attract many visitors, so Yes I would recommend booking in advance where possible.

    Regarding the national parks in Utah...are these worth exploring a bit more at the expense of seeing more of Yosemite?
    Yosemite is one of my all time favorite places, very closely followed by Zion, Bryce, GC etc as they all have a unique feel and amazing scenery to offer. You will have to decide as a group how you want to spend your time. There is no right or wrong answer but what I will say is that I find my time spent in National parks a lot more rewarding than I do in a City, and especially when in an RV !

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lucazade22 View Post
    Oh and just one final dilemma: north rim or south rim? I've read around and everyone seems to have different opinions.

    I guess we'll be coming from Monument Valley so the north rim would be closest and then more convenient for heading to Las Vegas from there. But some say the south rim is more spectacular and generally what you imagine when you think of the grand canyon so not sure...
    The South rim is actually closer to MV but that shouldn't sway your decision. You will find a difference of opinion as there is not a definitive answer. The North rim is more remote with less amenities and more effort is needed to get to various viewpoints which in turn attracts less visitors and it is for that reason that a lot of people prefer it. The South rim is more popular because of the amenities and easy access to numerous view points and is why it attracts more visitors. Both are in the National park and offer wonderful views of the canyon so it's for you to decide which has the most appeal.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,272

    Default

    The South Rim has an extensive free shuttle bus system so you can leave your RV parked. At the North Rim, you are essentially on your own and will be doing a lot of walking.

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