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  1. #1

    Default 1 wedding, 1 RV, and 14 nights. Oh, and food....don't forget the food!!!


    Please bear with me. Our road trip plans have evolved a lot, but I thought i'd put everything down in the hope that someone would be able to help!

    My fiance and I are from Wales, UK, planning our first trip to America. We are 29, and 31, and tbh are completely overwhelmed by what's on offer.

    It started with watching Man vs Food, and Diners, Drive-in's and Dives. We decided it would be fun to hire an RV and do a foodie tour in America. That soon changed to sticking to the western side, and whilst we were over there, we have decided to get married. My ideal place to get married would be San Francisco, but it looks quite dificult to get it sorted, so obviously Las Vagas seemed like a good second choice!

    We have decided to take the trip in late February/early March 2012 and fly in and out of San Francisco, as it will be more cost effective with the rental. From there, we HAVE to take the coastal road (road 1?) down to LA. From then on, we are trying to be quite relaxed about our route (after all, that's why we are hiring an RV and not doing a structured trip), but in a loose loop we would like to go to the Grand Canyon, across to Monument Valley, over to Las Vagas (maybe via Lake Powell and Bryce Canyon). After Vagas, perhaps up to Yosemite via Death Valley (nice place to honeymoon? (!)), up to Lake Tahoe, then back to San Francisco.

    Ok, reading that back, it doesn't sound like we are trying to be relaxed about the route at all!!! But we are open to changing our plans, and our minds!

    We only have 2 weeks to take the trip, so I realise we might be trying to squeeze too much in, but you have to be ambitious, right?

    On reading and researching there is quite a lot of negative reports about road tripping in an RV. I realise it is going to add up in fuel (we worked it out about $0.40p/m), and as our trip could take in over 4000 miles...thats a lot, but surely it would be easier than going in a car and trying to find motels to stop in? One of the main negatives is that it could be tricky whilst driving through cities, which I totally understand...but we do have a lot of open road between those cities.

    Any advice, please let me know. As novices to the road trip, we are keen to learn, and would love to make this a trip of a lifetime!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Looking at the route

    Hi and Welcome to the RTA Forum.

    Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptuals. There are many pros and cons to RVing, a discussion I shall stay clear of. I really do not have the experience.

    Allow me to comment on your route, which looks quite doable, even if a little more rushed than I would like.

    Is there a special reason for going to LA? You could find parking with an RV in the greater LA metropolis, challenging. You may like to take the PCH to Cambria or Morrow Bay, then head straight for the GC, via Bakersfield and Barstow. Check out all the attractions along this route. You could even choose to drive a section of old route 66 from Kingman to Seligman.

    After LV you could go via Death Valley to Lake Tahoe, (Tioga Pass into Yosemite will be closed). I particularly like the drive up 95. The country is so desolate with a beauty all its own... almost an extension of the desolation of DV. Then come down the western side of the Sierras to Yosemite, before returning to SF.

    Lay it all out on a large detailed map of the US (or Western US). Using the tools on the green bar above, you will be able to research other attractions and fine tune the map. If you have more questions, fire away.

    Enjoy the planning.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the tips. The only reason why we had LA on the route was because I was so desperate to go down the costal road, and it seemed like the natural route.

    On reading another thread this morning, I have seen how cold it gets. Do you think that our route will be especially cold or problematic in late Feb/march? As we are from the UK, we are used to the cold, but not sure if we will run into any problems because of it.

    Great idea to lay it all out on a map. We have been doing it on bing maps so far (I cant get this website to take me down the coast road, only the quickest route downt he 101), but to physically see it on a map would be great. Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Spring in the Desert Southwest

    Croeso. Cymru am byth! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One thing you have to remember as you plan your trip is that you'll be traversing about half a dozen different climate zones, from a Mediterranean type along the southern California coast to an Alpine type in the Sierra Nevada. You'll also be at everything from 200 feet below sea level in Death Valley to 8,000 feet above on the Colorado Plateau (plus any mountains you may enter.) One consequence of the time of year you'll be traveling is that all the passes over the Sierra Nevada will be snowbound and closed to traffic so that you 'will have to go around these mountains either to the south through Bakersfield/Barstow or to the north through Reno/Lake Tahoe.

    For the flexibility and comfort factors alone, I would choose a sedan and motels over an RV in this case. There will be plenty of vacant rooms everywhere on your route since you will be going well outside normal tourist season (except for the Las Vegas area perhaps) and these will be real rooms with real heat, and real beds, and real showers.

    For some more general suggestions on what's going to be available to you in the way of attractions and sites, have a read through this compilation of a number of previous discussions of RoadTrips through the same general area.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a key part of the equation

    I'd tend to agree with Buck that an RV doesn't sound like a the best choice for the trip you've laid out, in large part because I think you are miscalculating some of the pros and cons.
    but surely it would be easier than going in a car and trying to find motels to stop in?
    Actually, no, not at all! You won't have to find motels, but you'll still need to find campgrounds. As Buck mentioned, its usually not going to be tough to find a place to stay, but in cases where it is tough to find a motel, it is usually just as tough, if not even more difficult to find a campground. That's also a places where you'll have a significant expense, as campsites will cost $15-20 for a basic spots at a National Park to $30-40+ for a private campground with full hookups of water/electric/etc
    One of the main negatives is that it could be tricky whilst driving through cities, which I totally understand...but we do have a lot of open road between those cities.
    This is another area where I think you are overestimating the usefulness and underestimating the problems of an RV for your specific plan.

    If you are looking to go to hole-in-the-wall places like you've seen on those TV shows, most of the time, you're going to have limited parking options, and if you try to pull up in a big RV it could be extremely difficult to find a place to stop.

    Also, if you are focusing on restaurants, then you wouldn't be using the RV's kitchen, negating one of the big advantages of having an RV.

    RVs can be a great choice in a lot of situations, and while it might not be a bad choice for you, I'm not sure you've really given fair consideration to all the pros and cons.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Another selling point to a car instead of a RV - you may encounter snowy and slippery roads - what would you rather be driving on those? You may even be required to install tire chains.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 'Lifestyle'.

    As a UK resident who loves to RV in the US, I thought I better chirp in ! First off, and as already mentioned, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the suitability to this particular trip. You are travelling at a time when it is still winter, particularly around the Sierra's and at high elevation [Bryce canyon] it can still get real cold, especially at night. They are not great in places like LA, although Vegas has options near the Strip and it's easy to get transport. What an RV is, is a lifestyle choice and can be great on the open road and camping out in the National parks etc and in my opinion you have to compromise a little to get the most 'fun' from them. Fortunately I am not a city person, takes camping hols in the UK and loves the great outdoors, so it's an easy choice to make. There are negatives, but also positives for those that can plan around the cons and work on the pros. That's a decision for you to make. If it's an option you have, I would consider delaying the trip until late May/mid June. It may cost a little more, but for a trip that includes a wedding and honeymoon, it could be worth it.

  8. #8


    Thank you all so much for your replies.

    On further discussion, and much research into fuel economy, hire prices and ease we have discovered that hiring a car, taking into account fuel and motel prices, could cost us as little as £1270. Versus the price of RV hire, with fuel and camp sites coming in at about £3,000.

    We don't know how much a Motel will cost, but we have worked it out at about £40 ($65) a night. If anyone knows a more accurate average price, that would be really helpfull.

    Thank you all so much for you help. We will be looking into tweeking our route now, so no doubt be back on here to run it past you.

    Any further advice is very very welcome!!!

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

    Default On the safe side.

    You can generally find cheaper Motels near Interstate and away from City centres and attractions like National parks. The closer to the hub of activity the higher the price is likely to be, inside the National parks for instance. What you have got probably isn't far off the mark but as I like to keep on the safe side of a budget, I would allow a little more, perhaps $75 to $80 a night [£50] which would allow the odd $90/$100 night and/or perhaps a little over for those little treats !

    An RV is not a cost effective way to travel and the break even point when compared to car and Motels is around the point where 4 adults would be sharing the cost, but would be requiring separate hotel rooms if they were to travel by car.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Another selling point to a car instead of a RV - you may encounter snowy and slippery roads - what would you rather be driving on those? You may even be required to install tire chains.
    Really not a selling point for cars either, because I've hard that most car rental places don't allow you to use snow chains.

    Are you set on your late Feb. to early March time frame? This is a perfect time for Las Vegas and Death Valley, but your chances of snow and getting delayed in places like the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Yosemite and crossing the Sierra's are very possible.


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