Author Topic: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)  (Read 6042 times)

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2016, 03:56:09 PM »
Thinking of doing a motorhome trip from AZ to UT next week.
Had some questions beforehand though, which I hope some of you RV pros can answer.

I have a lot to say, but I don't want to hijack PBaruch's TR. Please post here, it's about time we had a master thread for this anyway...
Check out all my Trip Reports here!

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2016, 04:05:50 PM »
Thinking of doing a motorhome trip from AZ to UT next week.
Had some questions beforehand though, which I hope some of you RV pros can answer.

1) I don't have much experience driving vans, let alone trucks (other than a uhaul for a day).
How easy do you find the driving?
I recall years back when I went to the Grand Canyon for example, there are a lot of very steep very narrow very windy roads on which it seems that you're on the edge of a cliff etc.
Do you feel comfortable/safe driving on such roads -of which there are many in national parks- with an RV?
When you go down unpaved or bumpy roads, do you feel like the whole vehicle is about to fall apart and all your luggage falls out of the closets and from the bed on top of the driver (whatever that's called)? (I've been in RV's before, but haven't driven)

I am certainly not a seasoned RVer as we only rented a camper truck previously and this was our first time in a full size RV.  That being said, once I acclimated to the RV I did not have any difficulty driving it.  Backing up is a pain and it is recommended to have someone directing you from behind such as when backing into a campground parking spot (if you don't get a pull through site).  I did drive on some narrow windy roads and didn't have any issues.  I just drove slower and at a pace I determined to be safe.  I never felt as if the RV would "fall apart" and if your luggage is secured, nothing will fall out.  The refrigerator and all cabinets have locking latches so nothing is going to fly open.  You do, however, need to make sure not to leave items laying around on tables which will fall off while driving.

2) How mobile can you be? Can you access all roads with the RV? Aren't there roads with restricted access?

I cannot speak to this.  I know there are some roads that restrict vehicles to certain lengths.  I am sure the RV rental place can give you guidance for that.  Also, there are RV specific GPS units that you can buy or rent.  We personally did not experience any difficulties.

3) How's the gas?

Lousy for a 31 foot motorhome with a V10 engine.  Expect to get 8-10 miles per gallon.

4) How do you feel safe and secure sleeping inside?
There's some strange fear inside of me that it's easy for trouble-makers to break in while you during the night; a fear I don't feel as much in hotels.
Please explain to me how/why you feel safe and thereby extricate my silly fears.
Which leads me to my next question.

I never felt unsafe.  Campgrounds are generally safe and even the night we spent in the hospital parking lot everything was fine.  Then again, when I'm out in the woods I am the scariest thing out there.   :P

5) How do these camping sites work? Is there anywhere safe to park (without the above fears) besides camping sites?
Is there security on camping sites? Or are they simply always safe?
If I'm in the desert (e.g. near GC), it anyways cools down at night, so I wouldn't need the generator for AC.
But if I'm somewhere hot, what's cheaper, using the RV generator at $3.50/hr or camping sites where you plug in?
Is it really impossible to get into a camping site last minute?

The choice campgrounds book up well in advance, especially for peak times.  However, even if the choice campgrounds are booked solid, you can generally find other campgrounds a short distance away.  There are also campgrounds in national parks but those generally have no hookups.  As a result, you will have to run your generator whenever you want to use the AC and rely only on the water in your tank.  We never felt unsafe at any of the campgrounds we stayed at.  There were lots of families and kids all over.  Also, we saw many fancy motorhomes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I cannot speak to your question whether it is safe to park anywhere - you have to use your best judgment. 

As to your AC questions, just about all campgrounds include hookups in the cost of the stay.  As a result, it is definitely better to use their electrical hookup than running your generator if there is an hourly fee.  El Monte did not add any extra fee to run the generator and we did so liberally.


6) RV tech: How does the fresh water system work? You fill up or the rental company fills up?
How long does it last?
I understand that it's the responsibility of the renter to empty the 'holding tank' before returning the rental. Please excuse my ignorance with all these issues but is this a simple easy procedure? Or do I have to 'get my hands dirty'? ;)

I think the RV we rented had a 30 gallon tank - more than enough for washing dishes, washing up, and using the toilet.  We didn't take showers in the RV instead opting to use campground showers.  You can fill up the tank at a campground which should include water.  You are responsible to return the freshwater tank full and the wastewater tanks empty.  Otherwise, they will charge you a fee.  Get some gloves and it is pretty simple to flush out the toilet and wastewater tanks.  It's not pleasant but its not as bad as some people make it seem.

7) Any other tips or important issues to be aware of before renting an RV?

Buy gloves before you go off to wear when you flush wastewater.  Also, buy plenty of toilet chemicals.  In the hot weather, the smell from the toilet can permeate throughout the entire RV. 

Also, I'd recommend buying insurance from the RV rental facility.  Finally, figure out if you want to reserve pull through sites (so you don't have to back up) or if you are fine with a back in spot.  I found back in spots to be somewhat nicer. 


I'd greatly appreciate any input from you or anyone here that's traveled to national parks with a motorhome.

TIA!!!

PS:  If anyone has suggestions or comments as to what you might like to see included in future TRs, please post.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 04:25:44 PM by PBaruch »
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2016, 04:25:25 PM »
I'll respond on the new thread. Thanks PBaruch!

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2016, 02:38:26 PM »
1) Your pics look great! What camera did you use?

2) I noticed you have some sort of mesh barrier protecting your little one from falling off his bed.
   What is that? Where do you get it? Does it cover all gaps? Is it sturdy enough to keep a toddler from falling down?

3)What made you -in the summer- buy sleeping bags over sheet sets?

Thanks!!

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2016, 02:45:48 PM »
1) Your pics look great! What camera did you use?

2) I noticed you have some sort of mesh barrier protecting your little one from falling off his bed.
   What is that? Where do you get it? Does it cover all gaps? Is it sturdy enough to keep a toddler from falling down?

3)What made you -in the summer- buy sleeping bags over sheet sets?

Thanks!!

1. Used a Nikon D810 with a Nikon 17-35 F2.8 lens on a Really Right Stuff tripod and ballhead (but its not just the camera but the skill to know how to use it, as SF will attest).

2. That mesh barrier is used for the over the cab bed and it uses seat belt buckles to secure it to ensure that someone sleeping over the cab does not roll off.  My little guy did not sleep up there  - he slept with me and DW on the queen bed at the rear of the motorhome.  My 12 yo daughter slept up there and she did use the mesh barrier. 

3.  I posted in the TR that El Monte charges $50.00 per person for a set of linens, blankets and pillows.  That would have ended up costing us $200-250 total.  Instead of paying that, we bought light weight summer sleeping bags at $10.00 each and pillows at about $3.00 each - basically for the cost of linens for one person we were able to get everyone their own sleeping bag and pillow. 
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2016, 03:03:24 PM »
1. Used a Nikon D810 with a Nikon 17-35 F2.8 lens on a Really Right Stuff tripod and ballhead (but its not just the camera but the skill to know how to use it, as SF will attest).
Doesn't sound like something I can relate to  :( :(

3.  I posted in the TR that El Monte charges $50.00 per person for a set of linens, blankets and pillows.  That would have ended up costing us $200-250 total.  Instead of paying that, we bought light weight summer sleeping bags at $10.00 each and pillows at about $3.00 each - basically for the cost of linens for one person we were able to get everyone their own sleeping bag and pillow.
I read what you wrote and was also offered the same.
My question was, why -in the summer- did you buy sleeping bags and not linen sets. I.e. instead of buying cheap sleeping bags, buying cheap linen sets.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2016, 03:06:26 PM »
Despite what some people think, there are parts of Utah and Arizona that get chilly at night.  In addition, even when it is hot, you will be running the AC.  I'm not sure about you, but I like to use a blanket when the AC is on as it tends to get a little chilly after a while. 

If you do not want to buy light weight sleeping bags, I'm sure you can get cheap sheets and comforters as well, but I suspect that might end up costing you more money than the sleeping bags we bought. 
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Offline JTZ

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2016, 05:15:38 PM »
Looks like you had a great time. Nice pictures!
"LESS IS MORE" It is the cumulative effect that kills deals!!! How many times do I have to say this?  >:(

Offline mgoldhammer18

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #53 on: September 01, 2016, 12:42:46 PM »
Wow, I want to take this exact trip, day by day (minus one specific part).  Thank you so much for the amazing TR and pictures.

Offline solls108

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #54 on: September 01, 2016, 01:00:12 PM »
Great TR!

What was the total cost per day for the RV?

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #55 on: September 01, 2016, 03:37:58 PM »
After prepaying for miles and purchasing insurance the per day cost came out to about $540. There are, however, cheaper options if you do not need to pick up on a Sunday.
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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #56 on: September 04, 2016, 11:11:09 PM »
After prepaying for miles and purchasing insurance the per day cost came out to about $540. There are, however, cheaper options if you do not need to pick up on a Sunday.
Wow! Forgive me please that I'm ROFL (sorry it's so so mean, was just a natural reflex - I just can't contain the enjoyment in the crazy deal that I got) that you paid more per day than I paid for a full week!
TR is hopefully forthcoming, but I explored a bit of AZ, UT and NV.

Offline PBaruch

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #57 on: September 05, 2016, 12:02:43 AM »
If you think you are so smart, let me tell you that you most definitely are not. I also know how to get a motorhome for next to nothing. However, good luck finding a deal like that during the week of July 4th.

I'm rotf at your foolishness.
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Offline srap

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #58 on: September 05, 2016, 12:13:00 AM »
Pictures are out of this world and I love the organization of the TR.  You made  it very easy to read.  Even your little one is going to remember this trip!  What a scare.

Offline whYME

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Re: Motorhome Adventures in Utah and Arizona by PBaruch (2016)
« Reply #59 on: September 05, 2016, 12:34:30 AM »
However, good luck finding a deal like that during the week of July 4th.
-1
There were deals like that available the week of July 4th. (I was planning on doing one myself but it didn't work out in the end.)

That being said, just because there were such deals available doesn't mean there was one that fit your specific needs...