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  1. #1

    Default First Time RV'ing

    My husband and I would like to take a 7-10 day RV trip from the Chicago area to see some sights, (Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Tetons, Glacier Park). We understand that we may not have time for all of these and we would like to camp in the RV along the way and find places to possibly horseback ride and fish. We are completely new to this type of vacation so any ideas on a route to and from with some fun places inbetween would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, cj

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default You're right... don't have time for all that.

    A 10-day loop from Chicago to Grand Tetons, to Yellowstone to Glacier and back to Chicago is 3,500 miles, which works out to an average of 6 or 7 hours per day of just driving. Taking Glacier out of the plan brings it down to about 2,900 miles, which is still a lot of driving.

    So your first decision is how much driving do you want to do? Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons have ample opportunities for horseback riding and fishing, as well as many other activities such as rafting and hiking.

    I'd recommend that you limit yourself to just those two destinations for your first RV trip. You'll enjoy the time more if you aren't in a hurry to drive off somewhere else.

    Depending on the routes you choose to take (the direct way, or making a loop either through Omaha or Bismark) there is much to see. On the direct route you'll pass by the Badlands and Black Hills which is a highly recommended way to go for one of your legs.

    The RV rental agence will give you a lot of information, but reading up on RV travel beforehand will help a lot. Also, rent the smallest RV you can comfortably live in unless you have experience driving large trucks. While they are easy enough to drive on flat, straight highways like those in the Midwest, they can be tricky on the twisty, hilly roads in the West.

    Have a great time,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Pace yourself

    Craig is right about the time you have - you will want to scale back a bit so you can really enjoy yourself.

    Now, I've heard conflicting information about how easy it is to drive a large motorhome - some say that the Class A ("big ol' bus") is the easiest to drive of all of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Easy driving

    Hi, again,

    To a certain extent Tim is right about a class A motorhome being easier to drive in that you have a better sense of the width of the rig. And the suspension is more sophisticated so the ride can be smoother.

    A class C feels like you are driving a big van, but in actuality your width is at least 8', about 2' wider than a van. So you have to be careful. Your mirrors stick way out so you can see down the sides, giving you an idea how wide you really are.

    Since you are renting, the class A vs class C issue probably won't come up. I don't think any of the major renters deal in Class As any more, and even if they do, you don't want to try to handle something that big on your first time out.

    Height is the other issue. Class A motorhomes are usually taller by as much as a foot or two, bringing low hanging branches into play. It is important that you know how tall you are to the top of the air conditioner so you'll know which of the old gas station overhangs you can't fit under. There won't be many, but it only takes one to spoil the whole day.

    When parking in a campground with trees, be sure to have someone spotting you because a low hanging branch can crush a corner, or knock off a vent protruding from the roof. Been there, done that, and felt really bad for a week.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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