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RV or Hotels?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby dave54 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:53 am

To add:

Driving one takes adjustment. You accelerate slower, takes longer to stop, mostly restricted to the outside lanes of a multilane highway (no high speed cruising in the #1 lane). Watch your height under bridges. You do not have the same all around visibility as in a car -- you have big blind spots. You cannot fit into all gas stations. At any parking lot, look for your exit before you even pull in (learn to quickly use google earth on your smart phone. You can zoom in and see the layout of the parking lot or gas station before you even get there). Although many gas stations can be accessed easily, not all can. I prefer Pilot/ Flying J, Petro, Loves, or TA stations. I know I can get in and out of them, they cater to the RV and trucking industries and are laid out for access by large vehicles.
Use the RV/truck lanes at rest areas.

And you do not need a restaurant, or even a roadside rest, for lunch. Just a turnout or side road. Pull over to a level spot, walk back and prepare lunch. Does not matter if it is 100 degrees outside, wind blowing, or raining.

Go to rv.net or rvforum.net and lurk around for more info.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby dave54 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:28 am

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index. ... 929.0.html

Here is a link showing a spot we frequently camp, Google Earth caught us while we were there. I post this to show one of the nice things about RVs. There was no one else within several miles, and that small creek to the east of us (right side of picture) has brookies and rainbows. Just off the right side of the picture is a meadow and fen. A cacophony of colored wildflowers in the Spring and lots of songbirds. Also a small herd of deer hang out in the area (thanks to some salt blocks 'someone' has previously placed around). We often see them getting water early in the morning and at dusk.

Nothing like this near any motel or developed campground.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:33 am

It is my husband, NOT me, who wants the comforts of a trailer. I find car camping easier. Guess who gets to cleanup the trailer after each trip? PS, shared duties like cleaning will make everyone happier.

We have a 23-ft trailer. I wish we would have instead bought a 19-foot or less. We are just a bit too long for many public (FS-NPS) sites.

One decision is trailer vs RV. We chose a trailer because we still wanted a truck to drive to trailheads for day-hikes without moving the entire "home". Down side, backing up a trailer is not easy. If you rent one, be sure to practice. Most dealers will give short classes on using the trailer.

Be sure your trailer is matched to your vehicle. After creeping up hills slowly and getting terrible gas mileage, we switched to a diesel F150? Super something- sorry I am not conversant on truck details. The truck is specifically made for hauling. Deisel is considerably cheaper most of the time. If you rent, be conservative- most salesmen will say your car can pull the trailer, but that is sometimes a stretch of facts.

I prefer car camping, but hate hotels or motels, so thus, the trailer. You can camp in the woods, out on the road (BLM) and get away from civilization- so the Luxury camping seems more like real camping.

If you choose a simple trailer (or van like the vw vanagan) that does not have a bathroom, things are less complicated. We use campground bathrooms/showers all the time, even though we have a bathroom and shower.

One good addition to get (or rent with your rental trailer/RV) is solar power. Once we got our solar panels, we have never worried about electricity. We can watch movies on TV all night and be fine. Another good item is a small BBQ. RV stoves usually do not broil well.

One place that trailers/RV's shine is coastal camping in the winter. Our last trip to Fort Bragg, we were able to camp at a wonderful site right on the coastal bluff with a constant howling wind, and watch the sunset out the window, sung inside! Rain? No problem. Oregon coast off-season is great- no way would I do that in a tent.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:52 am

Well, thank you again for all this information. That 19' RV looks like a decent size for two, will take a look at it in person. Love the idea of not having to drive 1-2 (or more) hrs every day to get to the park and back, or having to pay the crazy expensive in park hotel prices. The 19' looks like it could give us some of the convenience of a regular auto, but also allowing enough space to sleep and cook comfortably. Gas prices are supposed to go up even more, but even with that, it looks like the prices of sleeping in the park or having to drive an hour or two, to and from the park, would make it a wash. Also having food, healthy food, readily available in the RV is a major plus, not having to eat at either overpriced park restaurants, eating unhealthy junk food, or having to purchased over priced food at the in park grocery stores is a major convenience factor.

Thanks Mike, will give you a call.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby oldranger » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:07 pm

One other caveat. Remember that in places like yosemite and Yellowstone and that you are required to use campgrounds for overnight stays and frequently that is as dicey as getting a room, so requires advanced planning. Even some forest service areas require camping in campgrounds that are hard to get reservations.

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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby Rockyroad » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:59 pm

Friends of ours rented a Jucy Van, https://www.jucyusa.com/, which is essentially a family van that has been outfitted with beds, stove, sink, and refrigerator. I guess it is similar to the old VW Vanagon. This seems like a good alternative to the high price of a motel/hotel and the drivability of an RV. The only downside: it is not very subtle. :)
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby Hobbes » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:08 pm

Mav, unless you two have issues with room, you will love the 19' Majestic. The hottest segments in the RV market now are smaller class C (a house built on a HD van chassis) & class B (van conversions). Some think the class B RVs might be a bit small. I sort of like them, but my wife hates them - even the nice Sprinter Roadtrek that costs $100k - so I can forget that option.

Trailers are a good call if you already have a good tow vehicle. Down here, everyone likes to drive monster F350s, not as work vehicles, but just because. Well, the key to a good trailer experience is to have the tow vehicle (TV) oversized in relation to your trailer. Otherwise ... well, let's just say white knuckles can be the least of your experience. Crossing the Mojave can be, what with all those wind turbines, a little bit "squirrelly". 5th wheel trailers solve a lot of these problems, but then the TV needs to be pretty big - a dually really helps. We have a neighbor who drives a big over-sized truck because he has a 5th wheel trailer. But since he only takes the trailer out now & then, he's got this monster truck to drive around on a regular basis.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that you don't need to camp overnight at a campground. Flying J, Walmart and (at least California) highway rest stops are all available for overnight stops. Whenever we take our RV up to Yosemite, we always leave Friday night after rush hour, drive two hours and spend the night at the Walmart @ Adelento. This cuts out 2 hours of driving, and since I get going by 5am, we're in Lone Pine by 7am getting/having breakfast Saturday morning. As mentioned above & by others, it doesn't matter where you are/what time you arrive, because you can just chill wherever.

The highway rest stop is super critical. In the summer, we like to go to a surfing beach @ Pendleton (ah, sweet memories, no?) - me surf, wife socializes. Old school at the shack - this place is frozen in time and still looks just like this, including the weather vane:

Image

It has some overnight campgrounds a few miles away, but if they're fully booked, we just take off for the rest stop 8 miles before Oceanside. Pull in late Sat night (after spending the day & early evening at the beach - state beaches don't close until 10pm), crash, get up early, get back to the beach, then head home Sunday afternoon.
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby hjldennis » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:20 pm

I would love to trade our 23ft class c (Itasca Navion) with a 4x4 Sportsmobile. Other than that, I have not seen anyone who is really happy with class b. I rented a Roadtrek from my brother (yes we are an odd asian family with everyone with rvs), and hated it. I rather travel in a conversion van than that. He traded it with class c since. So to echo some inputs here, I think 20-25 ft is a good size for an active traveler. Again I find no trouble driving mine around everywhere. In fact on our recent visit to the Wave, I drove 8 miles of washboard dirt road without any issues.

I don't exactly know but I think commercial RV rentals are very expensive. Renting privately (craigslist) or renting a trailer may be a better option financially. I have also seen a European couple who bought a cheap one for their stay here for a few months and sold it after they were done. They said it was much cheaper than renting one.

BTW, many people get grossed out when they find out what they have to do to "dump". Well I got grossed out too when I accidentally dumped on my driveway...
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby rlown » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:28 pm

hjldennis wrote:BTW, many people get grossed out when they find out what they have to do to "dump".


Umm. Never on the driveway :)

Most rest areas have dump stations. A good thing. Even when in Oregon (McMinnville ), they had a free dump station at the sewage treatment plant.

And what Dave said,.. Definitely watch 'RV'.

I'm adding this.. Things do break. And at the exact wrong times, in an RV or even a trailer. You have to be prepared to deal with it, one way or another. Duct tape is a good start :)
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby rlown » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:39 pm

maverick wrote:My wife will not camp any more, bad past experiences, so which is a better way to hit up several parks, hotel (in park or near park) or RV? If you have done both, would love to hear a comparison. What are the pluses and minuses of both? Which is more expensive in the long run? Thanks


ok.. so you never said where you're going???
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby hjldennis » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:34 am

Oh.. one more thing to consider in c class RV, don't consider the overhead bunk bed as your primary bed. So having a fulltime bed other than the overhead is a big plus in my opinion. Ours has 1 pullout sofa which is not too great because of the spring, and the dinette that converts to bed which is inconvenient. Kids used love the overhead bunk, but now I am the only one who really doesn't mind the tight ceiling up there...
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Re: RV or Hotels?

Postby freestone » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:51 am

Hotels for my wife and I.

Mid May we are going to Lake Louise and Jasper to check out the Canadian Rockies, where she can read a book and enjoy the mountain air while I take a flyfishing lesson. Since I am not retired, driving an RV there would take way too much time to just get there. Besides, after spending so many years camping in pristine conditions, the thought of jumping through all the RV hoops does not interest me. Instead, we enjoy applying my minimalist approach to backpacking to air and hotel travel- 5 days of the necessities into a carry on travel case. To me many of the public campgrounds are more like apartment living without the walls than a relaxing outdoor experience with my wife.

$500 a night at the Majestic? Totally worth it for us.
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