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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Townsville, Australia
    Posts
    4

    Default RV Western USA for 6 months

    Hi everyone, I have been following this forum for the past few months in prepartion for our trip in January 2015. In brief, we are a family of 3, myself, my wife and our 10 yo daughter who live in Northern Australia. We will be spending 2015 in the USA and plan on hiring an RV for the first 6 months touring the Western states. We have been granted our Visa so appears everything is ready for the actual trip planning to commence.

    We aim to hire an RV in San Francisco in early January with the goal of mainly visiting National Parks. Our first stop will be Yosemite before heading down to Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Las Vegas to visit relatives. From here we will travel into Arizona for the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff then up into Utah for the main parks of Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands. We will then travel through the Rocky Mountain National Park on our way to visiting friends in Boulder Colorado. Our next destination will be South Dakota for Mt Rushmore, Wyoming for Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, to Montana for Glacier NP through Idaho to Washington and then South through Oregon before returning the RV to San Francisco around mid June. On average we shoudl be able to stay in each National Park for around 5 nights.

    We appreciate that the early part of the trip will be the middle of Winter, however I feel the above itinerary should assist by moving South originally and then the northern states during Spring and Summer.

    I also appreciate that some National Parks may be closed during winter or at the very least only limited campgrounds will be available. It also appears some have full hook-ups and others are pure camping (albeit with camp tables, fire pits, toilets etc.).

    Am keen for thoughts associated with our travel, our itinerary, any other parks to visit (am aware of KOA and might use these occassionally) and anything else of value from people with much more experience than we have.

    Many thanks.

  2. Default

    A few points:

    Have you compared the overall cost of an RV with that of a car and motels? The RV option is going to be very considerably more expensive - but of course cost isn't the only factor in the decision.

    Have you checked the US National Park Service web site for winter conditions in the various parks? http://www.nps.gov

    With a January start, I'd suggest starting south and keeping as close to the Mexican border as possible, so perhaps fly into Phoenix and head for Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas. Subject to comments for other members, I'm also going suggest that heading for Yosemite and Sequoia in January isn't a wise choice.

    There are a couple of national parks in southwestern Colorado that you haven't mentioned: Mesa Verde (Anasazi cliff dwelling ruins) and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I would especially recommended Mesa Verde for two or three days, but Black Canyon is also good for perhaps a half day visit. However, the roads in that area are mountainous and perilous in bad weather, especially with an RV. Even in summer they are rather frightening in places with huge unguarded drops over the side. Search on YouTube for "million dollar highway us550 durango silverton ouray" to see what they're like. You might want to consider riding the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, it's a preserved old-time western steam train through the extremely scenic San Juan Mountains.

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

    Default Rv ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Have you the option of travelling later, or at least starting this part of your trip later in the year ? As mentioned above, travelling during the winter and visiting NP's can be problematic, Yosemite and Sequoia are set in the Sierra Nevada and although the parks are open year round, snow and ice accompanied with freezing conditions and the need to use snow chains are a real possibilty. Colorado is a similar proposition during the winter/Spring months and Yellowstone does not even open fully until well into May. It's not to say you can't get around in the winter, Locals have to, but it does mean you will be limited in what you can see, you are likely to come across delays and disruption due to the weather and it's going to be real cold in an RV. Not only will it cost a lot more than a car and Motels you will have the issues of 'Winterising' the RV to avoid pipes freezing and bursting, if you hold water in the tanks. This would more than likely be your at your cost if you used the water tanks and damage occured. I'm not against RV'ing, in fact I love it and it's a great 'Lifestyle' choice if it's your 'thing', as it is ours, I just don't think it's the right choice for when you are planning to travel. Winter is more about elevation then North and south and the canyons, especially places like Bryce at 10,000ft, also face hard winter conditions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you are going to be over here for the whole year, I'd recommend you wait till April to rent the RV to tour the western states. The weather should hold out till the end of September. That would give you the 6 months.

  5. Default

    I found an online database of climate data for a huge number of US cities and national parks:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/state.php3?c=US

    For example, Yosemite Village (i.e. Yosemite Valley), California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Sequoia NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Death Valley NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Joshua Tree NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Phoenix, Arizona:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Tucson, Arizona:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Big Bend NP, Texas:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    There's some good advice regarding budget motel options in the USA in this thread:
    http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...udget-traveler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Winter is not a good time for an RV.

    I would echo all of the above. An RV in the National Parks is simply fantastic... but has huge challenges in winter. So much so that you will not have full use of it. As Dave mentioned, the freezing and bursting of pipes is a real possibility. Are you be able to delay the roadtrip part of your twelve months till later, as suggested above?

    Today, in the middle of April, I awoke to snow, and drove through a snow storm, as well as through areas which had good snow falls overnight. Admittedly, it was further north, but it was also at less than 1000 feet elevation.

    And somehow, coming from the Qld, you may not be used to that. Be sure to bring your woollies and thermals.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Here is one more that will chime in about "RV's are rough to deal with in winter." To winterize can cost you time and dollars -- roughly $125 these days. Once it's done, you won't have water for cooking-showering-bathroom, nor the grey or black water tanks. The only thing you'll be able to do in the rig is sleep. Some RV's have a heater that sounds like a jet plane about to take off -- at least, ours did! In the winter, the heater will suck up a tank of propane easily in two or three nights. So you'll have to budget for filling tanks at least once a week. That can add up to some dollars.

    If this were me, I'd either put off my travels until April to October, or use car+motels. With the price of fuel (for the RV), propane for heating, renting the rig AND overnight campsites or RV parks, you'll probably come out ahead.

    The other thing to consider: some RV rental places may not allow you to keep the same rig for more than a month or two. We considered renting a motorhome two summers ago. The two places we got quotes from had a maximum time before they wanted to see the rig back. One was 4 weeks, the other was 6 weeks. Both were around $900 a week before all the linen, cooking, and other packages (which we weren't going to use since we have a garage and storage room full of our old trailer stuff).


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Links.

    Quote Originally Posted by John259 View Post
    I found an online database of climate data for a huge number of US cities and national parks:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/state.php3?c=US

    For example, Yosemite Village (i.e. Yosemite Valley), California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Sequoia NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Death Valley NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Joshua Tree NP, California:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Phoenix, Arizona:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Tucson, Arizona:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    Big Bend NP, Texas:
    http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/w...tes-of-America

    There's some good advice regarding budget motel options in the USA in this thread:
    http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...udget-traveler
    John, are you aware that you can hide all these links?

    e.g. Hilight the words Big Bend, then click on the globe symbol with the chain link. A little box will pop up, and put the link in there.

    (I was going to message you, but it appears yours has been disabled.)

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I think a moderator may come by and hide the links for you, that is the forum management's preferred way of posting them.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    John, are you aware that you can hide all these links?
    Thanks, I'll try to remember!

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