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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom

    Default december 28th - january 18th 2016 road trip San Fran - Chicago- help??

    Hi all,

    I have recently just booked a trip with my boyfriend to travel from san francisco to chicago, Arriving 28th december and leaving on the 18th january.

    we are both really excited and have a route planned out but are now worried about weather and places being shut.

    we have hired an RV to travel throughout the 21 days.

    what problems are we going to have with going in this time of year?
    what highlights do people suggest for us along the route?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Cart Before the Horse

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There is nothing terribly wrong or unwieldy about taking RoadTrips in winter. They can let you see parts of the country at times when no one else is around, the scenery is tremendous, and a particular quiet descends upon the land. However, even at their best, such trips require flexibility and patience to deal with inevitable snow and ice conditions and so extra time and cancelable reservations are always in order.

    Traveling by RV might seem to offer the best method of having flexibility since you're traveling with your own mobile motel room, but that is an illusion. RVs are not particularly winter-friendly travel vehicles. First and foremost there's the problem with fluids. A winterized RV is one from which all the water has been drained - so it can't freeze and burst the tanks. That means no showers, no toilets, and no running water in the 'kitchen'. Then there's the problem with temperature control at night. Unless you plan to run the motor all night or an external generator to power an electric heater, keeping warm is going to be a problem. Running any kind of petroleum (kerosene, gasoline) heater in an enclosed space is a serious safety and health risk that I would not recommend. Then there's the fact that most RV campgrounds are closed in the winter, making finding overnight parking problematical. Finally, RVs are far less winter road worthy than a standard front-wheel drive car. You will be traveling slower when you can drive them and there will be situations where just being in an RV means that you can't drive.

    Worrying about weather after you've decided on a route/time/vehicle is way too late. If you can, I would urge you to reconsider your plans, at the very least by finding an alternative mode of transport. Using a car and motels will decrease your cost and increase your safety, comfort, and ability to travel.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    we have hired an RV to travel throughout the 21 days.

    what problems are we going to have with going in this time of year?
    and what highlights do people suggest for us along the route?
    It's right to be excited about a trip in advance, and that's part of what makes a trip: the advance planning. AZBuck was right on with his comments about RV's and winter temperatures: no fluids can be used in a winterized vehicle, and heaters are not always accommodating during the coldest months of the year. If you are planning a "southern route" in hopes of using the RV, that might be workable, but the rental company may want to charge YOU for the "privilege" of re-winterizing it, upon the RV's return.

    Seriously, if you have not rented the RV yet, you will want to reconsider. If you already have rented it, you might want to check the cancellation policy in order to reconsider. BTW, I say this as an ex-RV-owner. Even in SoCal, there were times when we did not use the RV in the winter, merely because we did not want to chance broken pipes and tanks (which the RV rental company WILL charge you for, in the event they break when using the RV in a winter climate). Then there is the problem that a lot of northern RV parks are closed for the winter.

    It might also be helpful if you tell us where you have planned to visit. Some places are in full winter mode and all but shut down.


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