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  1. #1

    Default Planning first ever round trip renting RV trying to visit CA/NV/AZ

    Hello everyone,

    nice forum, just the one i need cause I am totally lost at the moment. I am planning a trip with friends coming from abroad (I am also here in California since a year) in this May. Our ideas are to rent a RV for our two families and give us 3 weeks to explore around. I have thousands of questions to ask but will try to limit myself to few at first.
    I have an idea of a circle we could try to make and if you can advice me if it is achievable, having in mind we would like to see things but in the same time not to be rushing like hell :) A compromise in between.

    So here's my plan:
    Sacramento - Yosemite, LA, San Diego, Death Valley,Vegas, Sedona, Grand Canyon south Rim and.... closing the circle maybe crossing Utah and back to Sacramento but not sure if time will allow it. What do you think ? Any advice and suggestion will be appreciated very much. Am I missing a must see on this way ?

    Here is the second biggest thing that worries me. I am still not quite comfortable with laws and regulations in the country, so I need some help with questions like the following related with RV travel:
    - am I allowed to stop at any place with the RV to spend the night (like in the middle of the desert just pull over the road), or I need to stop on a specific place especially for RVs. I would be very happy to know that I can start the engine just go on the road and sleep wherever the night finds me. Otherwise it will require a hell of a planning for the entire trip and maybe reservations and etc. How much freedom the RV gives me - all of partial ? :))

    - Can I enter cities with the RV and may I park it in the city. Are there any special parking fees for RVs. Can I go with the RV in Vegas for example or I should park it on an out of town parking and rent a car if I want to spend two days in vegas.

    Let me limit my questions as my post will become too long, but I have thousand more :)

    Thanks folks,
    Nik

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

    Default Not 'anywhere'.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your route outline looks OK and would be achievable in 3 weeks, and in Utah you have the wonderful National parks of Zion and Bryce canyon.

    You can not just pull up and park the RV wherever you want, you would need to find a designated area, campgrounds, truck stops and with the managers permission the odd Super store parking Lot, such as Walmart. However using truck stops and Walmarts will only allow you too sleep, and not set up camp, which is most of the fun in having an RV. RV pitches can be limited in National parks and even though you are travelling in May, booking would be recommended, but you should find RV parks in the surrounding area.

    The RV is not the best 'tool' for getting around the City, but if you find an RV resort with a transport link nearby it's the best way to get around the City. For instance, Vegas has a few choices, but The Oasis RV resort is quite close to the Strip and has a free shuttle bus service.

    Personally I think you would have more fun and a more relaxed time if you left LA and SD out of it this time and with the RV and enjoyed more time in the NP's, but that has to be your choice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your route seems ok, I'd tweek it a bit by starting by going down the coast to LA and SD, then go across to the Grand Canyon, head up into Utah towards Zion and Bryce, then head back via Vegas, Death Valley, and Yosemite. (with the note that you'll have to keep an eye on when Tioga Pass opens to see if that is an option or if you'll have to go around to the south via the Bakersfield are. That may be a bit busy for 3 weeks depending upon your pace, so plot things out and see if they work for what you are looking at.

    As far as the parking questions.

    No, generally you can not just park anywhere. Just pulling over to the side of the road is an invitation to be breaking trespassing or parking laws. You'll want to be saying in RV parks, which can get a bit expensive especially if you are staying at places with full hook-ups, and in busy areas, yes you may want reservations (although you are traveling before peak season, so that should give you more options.) There are places you can just pull over and park, like Truck Stops, some (but not all) Walmarts, and places like that, but when you do that you are parking to sleep, and you shouldn't be cooking out, using slide-outs, or doing other things that make it obvious that you are camping.

    Cities are a bit tricky, as an RV is tough to get around with. You usually will pay significantly more for parking (and have a harder time finding a spot) while siteseeing, so it could be worthwhile to rent a car to explore cities, especially in LA. Some places may offer some shuttle services. In San Diego, the city is small enough and has a good trolley system that can make it pretty easy to get to the major spots, similarly, on the Vegas strip it is pretty easy to get around.

    No advice on RV parks in LA or SD, but in Vegas, the Oasis is a popular one among the regular RVers on this forum. Circus Circus on the strip also offers an RV park, but it is basically a big parking lot behind the hotel.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hey,

    thanks, you are so quick. So from your messages I got the following: - to have fun being with a RV I would rather prefer to camp at campgrounds and have the option to cook outside and enjoy the nature. So for example I should make a detail planning and do something like 2 days here in this park, 3 days there and so on and be a starting point of further explorations on the site - like tours around Grand Canyon. Instead of being constantly on the road. Got it :)

    Do the campgrounds offer refilling of the RV needs - like propane, gas, water, generator and etc. I guess so.
    How about the weather in May around those states, is it gonna be already warm enough ?

    Thanks again, my excitement gets bigger and bigger
    Nik

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

    Default

    A lot of the NP Campgrounds have dump stations for the emptying of waste water and a fresh water station to top up. A lot of them also have shower/loo blocks, and by using them when you can will save having to do visit the dump station on a regular basis. It's a good idea to dump and top up when leaving a site with those facilities, especially if you are unsure of the next campground. Propane is something you will find at some campgrounds, but also at gas stations Other than when you have to return the RV, I doubt you will have to top it up more than once, if at all. The Generator runs off the RV's gas tank and will cut out automatically at a certain point so that you don't end up stranded without fuel. This won't happen as they use very little, providing you don't turn up at a campground with a near empty gas tank.

    Check out the nps.gov site where you will find info on every park and campground.

    The weather as we know is unpredictable, but you should enjoy pleasant daytime temps with the possibility of chilly, or cold nights at elevation so take some layered clothing.

    If you work out your itinerary and want to stay in NP's I would check availability as soon as poss and consider booking. If you know where you are heading I could make some suggestions of which sites to use.

  6. #6

    Default Suggested companies for renting RV around Sacramento

    Hello Guys,

    I know that this question is hard to be answered, but at least some feedback based on your experience with RV rental companies will be welcomed a lot.

    I read awful stories of people planning their one time vacation spoiled by an old and broken RV. Is there a company which will offer only this year models or mostly a year old vehicle ? I am terrified of plannig and organizing this and receiving a big slam of disappointment...

    I have check prices among - cruise america, elmonterv and few others but price is not all...

    Please suggest me something based on your experience.

    Thanks !
    Nik
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-24-2011 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Merged with previous posts. Please do not start new threads for the same trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I'd say that going with CA or El Monte will give you a pretty reasonable assurance that you'll have an RV in reasonably new condition, although I'm not sure exactly how long they typically keep their fleet.

    With the smaller companies, I think it's something you should simply ask about as you research.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Back up.

    All you can really do is put 'Sacramento RV rental' into your search engine and see what you come up with and trust your instincts. I have used smaller Co's and Nationals [Cruise America] and was happy with both. With Cruise America always check the 'Hot deals' link where they will often add 'Free nights' or 'One way specials' etc and can save you a lot of money.

    One of the things to keep in mind when deciding is, who will be best equipped to get you on the road again in case of a mechanical failure or collision ? The larger Nationals will have depots all over the Country, whereas a smaller company with a limited number of rentals and only a local depot might struggle/take longer to get you going again. Don't get me wrong, I like supporting and dealing with 'Family type' business's, but it is something to consider.

    If you stick to a Rental specialist, [not an agent letting private owners RV's] then typically you would expect the vehicle to be 1-3 years old. Our Cruise America RV was a little over 3 years old with 75,000 miles on the clock and when I reported a couple of minor faults, [That didn't affect our trip, but thought worthy of a mention as they was the type of fault that wouldn't be picked up on in there preparation for the next renters] I was informed that is was going to Phoenix for a refurb and retirement, in other words being sold on.

    Plenty of people use agents and you can find good deals, but I prefer talking direct with the rental Co. so that I understand what they have and they understand what I want. I never like the idea of talking to a telephone receptionist who has never seen the inside of an RV, that tells me what I want to hear, but maybe I'm a little 'odd' like that !

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi Dave,

    thanks for the answer. After a lot of research I decided to bet on those who were offering the newest motorhomes. They are saying that they are having only new RVs (meaning this year model). Later I found that they are an agent not the exact renting company but already paid them deposit so couldn't get back and connect directly with the rental company.

    "Adventure Touring/USA RV Rentals as Agent for Moturis/Camping World" - any experience with those ?

    Still I hope everything will be OK as it will be a big disappointment to go pickup the RV and find out that its an old model and I was mislead. Don't get me wrong, the only reason I am looking for a new one is so that I can have a working device all the way.

    On RV renting website they always put in terms and conditions that the actual RV might not correspond 100% to the shown or reserved. I dont know why I am pessimistic maybe as this is my first time and I am worried.

    next step for me will be to start looking for exact locations I will stay. The initial plan is to start from Sacramento -> LA for couple of days> San Diego for at least 3-4 days > somewhere in Arizona (suggestions here are very well welcomed) - Grand Canyon - 3 days ->Vegas 2-3 days -> Yosemite 3 days > Tahoe 3 days > Sacramento - total trip 17 nights.

    Anything else a must see on my way ?

    Thanks a lot !
    Nik

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Camping World is a pretty major chain of RV sales, and it does seem like they do a fairly sizable rental business, especially through 3rd party brokers. I can't say if they'll actually live up to the current model year promise (which sounds fairly suspect, but isn't impossible).

    The "might not correspond 100%" sounds a whole lot like the "or similar" language you'll find when renting a car, which gives the company the option to provide the closest fit to your reservation based on what they have available at the time.

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