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pabgarde
07-03-2011, 21:24
Hello, I am planning my next holidays in the Western United States in September (3 weeks), and I would like to rent a motorhome (19 feet / 5,8 meter long, small one).

The route would be: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco.

As it is my first time in the US with a motorhome I would like to know about experiences from other people. Did you have problems wild camping? Is it difficult to find places for wild camping? How is the law in US related with motorhomes? Can they park anywhere just like another vehicle? How about the national parks? How expensive are the campgrounds?

Any advices would great!
Thanks!

sagart
08-03-2011, 10:17
Rules vary from state to state. Our daughter lives in Oregon and wildcamping, as we know it is not encouraged (the bears don't help). We had to use campgrounds as most viewpoints, say on Highway 1, are managed privately and do not welcome overnighting.
Campgrounds are cheap and usually very well equipped.
Research against each state's website and look at organisations like Campgrounds of America.
If you can hire in the US. it is cheaper than from the UK.
If you use a Blue Badge here all states will issue one valid in the US, again research online

pabgarde
14-03-2011, 16:12
Thanks for the info. That is exactly what I need to know, the exat rules about motorhome laws in those states. I am from Spain and my english is not so good to do that research, that is why I am asking :)

In Spain, for example, you can park a motorhome just like any othe vehicle. Is it the same in the united states (california, arizona, nevada)? How can I know if I can park and overnight if there is no signal fobidding it?

grapegrower
04-04-2011, 23:31
I believe that you will find that most cities and towns in the U.S have restrictions. Best to probably ask a local policeman where you can park overnight. Outside of cities and towns you can park along the roadway, but I'm reluctant for safety reasons.
Safest would be the private campgrounds. They are everywhere. Get a Woodalls
RV camping guide and you will find a listings by location that include the price and the facilities available. If you are in a resort area the State, National, and private campgrounds will be good to use. To me they are expensive. Usually $15 to $30 per night. If I'm on the road and not at my destination, I find truck stops are good secure places. They are free, but a little noisy. The truck stops usually have a 24 hour convenience store.

wynthesurfer
05-04-2011, 00:33
Hi Pabgarde
I have a RV and if I need any help in any way I go on this site,it is the best one you will find.
iRV2 - RV Forum Community (http://www.irv2.com/forums/)
Here is another also pretty good
The RV Forum Community - Index (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=347d76712dad13af41e7a38456449d c3&)

There are two UK sites but are a waste of time

Tony Lee
05-04-2011, 09:59
We spent 4 months rving around the western states of the US and in that time we didn't use a single commercial campground. Used lots of Forestry service campgrounds, and did a fair bit of boondocking and stealth camping as well.

Where you are intending to go is generally right on the tourist trail and can get very crowded in peak seasons so that it is generally advised to make reservations to be sure of getting a spot. September will probably not be crowded but you need to check for school holidays or public holidays to make sure.

Walmart and a few other big-box stores are a good standby.

As for getting around - California is built to accommodate cars and even the smallest diner or coffee stand has enough room to drive and park even the biggest RV without causing too many palpitations. A 20' MH will be smaller than half the SUVs in the parking lot.

Don't get too hung up about safety. We had no problems at all and just as in France or Spain, just have a look around and use your common sense before making camp.

Someone mentioned bears. Yes, do take notice of any directions on notices - no leaving food or cooking stuff outside or in a vehicle in designated areas.

lebesset
05-04-2011, 14:25
spend 1 year travelling the USA
never stayed on a campsite
san francisco was difficult though , very difficult in national parks
truck stops are always easy for overnight

Tony Lee
06-04-2011, 11:48
If you are going to hit the national parks hard, it will be worth getting an all-parks pass. Costs US$80 , or was it $60 - but you break even after 4 of the main parks. Doesn't cover camp sites though - just the entrance fees for one vehicle plus occupants.
Buy it at the first park you come to.

Forest campsites cost anywhere from free to $15 a night and are usually in some pretty nice locations. Basic facilties though and if yours is a typical rental RV, it will have VERY limited free-camping endurance (measured in hours rather than days, especially if you need the furnace running all night) so you may have klittle choice but to stay where you can hook up to the mains.

PS Don't forget to take a US to UK powerpoint adaptor if you want to use your mobile and computer chargers (but check they are OK on 100 to 250V. Most are)

Need internet? Main Street, Anywhere, USA is usually a good source of free WiFi. Chain motels and many others too as well as HumanBean, Starbucks and other coffee shops - and of course MacDonalds and sometimes KFC nearly always has free connection with enough power to connect a block away.

coolasluck
06-04-2011, 14:17
We spent 4 months rving around the western states of the US and in that time we didn't use a single commercial campground. Used lots of Forestry service campgrounds, and did a fair bit of boondocking and stealth camping as well.

Where you are intending to go is generally right on the tourist trail and can get very crowded in peak seasons so that it is generally advised to make reservations to be sure of getting a spot. September will probably not be crowded but you need to check for school holidays or public holidays to make sure.

Walmart and a few other big-box stores are a good standby.

As for getting around - California is built to accommodate cars and even the smallest diner or coffee stand has enough room to drive and park even the biggest RV without causing too many palpitations. A 20' MH will be smaller than half the SUVs in the parking lot.

Don't get too hung up about safety. We had no problems at all and just as in France or Spain, just have a look around and use your common sense before making camp.

Someone mentioned bears. Yes, do take notice of any directions on notices - no leaving food or cooking stuff outside or in a vehicle in designated areas.




Thanks for the info Tony,i toured the western u.s.a nearly 15 years ago(only seems like yesterday)on a mountain bike with panniers and a rucksack!!
We want to go back to the u.s.a and tour in a motorhome for a good 6 weeks before we go full timing permanently over here.Your information is invaluable.Thanks.

pabgarde
07-04-2011, 09:43
Thank you for all the answers!! I am starting getting nervous for the trip... I just need my boss let me take 3 weeks on hoolidays and it is done :)

It seems it is not that difficult to overnight outside campgrounds. I dont want to spent so much money with a RV, I know it is more expensive than renting a car and sleeping in hotels but not so much...

Thanks Tony for the advice abou national park pass!!

Two more questions :confused::
1) Where can I find a good guide for Foresty campgrounds? It would be great if I could have all of them in my GPS...
2) If I park in a Wallmart or any other big store, do I need to ask for permission or just park there? If I use this parkings is only to spend the night (arriving late and departing early in the morning)

Ah! And it is not just about bear that I cannot forget food or rubish outside the RV, I have a good experience in Scotland last year :) Any animal can make a big disaster with it!! Of course bears are a little more big :D

sagart
09-04-2011, 08:17
One extra warning.
Unless you have an official State Disabled Exemption Pass, never ever park in a disabled bay.
In Oregon/California/Washington the notice reads "If you park without displaying an authorized badge you will be fined $500 and your vehicle will be towed"
This means paying to have it released and the police patrol disabled areas in carparks and store parking areas as well as wardens.
There is no defence or exception.

Tony Lee
10-04-2011, 12:04
campingtipsgroup : Messages : 32128-32157 of 32157 (http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/campingtipsgroup/messages)
has info in their files on boondocking. Also the various government agencies have pretty good web sites showing locations of camps - or you can call in to any forestry service office.

POI sites have walmart and other free sites as not all walmart shops allow it - but most do. Yes, good manners to go inside and ask at the service desk or ask the roaming security guard if there is one. Always park tidily and stay away from the entrances. Many walmarts are open 24/7 so far corners away from the main car entrances are also quieter.

Some casinos allow free parking - or maybe charge a few dollars and some have hookups as well. Register when you go in the door and you will get cheap meal vouchers and maybe a couple of gambling chips to suck you in.

When you pick up the rental MH try and get an idea of how long you can survive away from mains electricity because most I've seen have very limited battery capacity.
Some have generators though and it is not uncommon to be in an RV park - death valley NP for instance where there are no hookups and the park will have a couple of hundred monster RVs, most with 15kVA generators running full blast to drive three rooftop AC units, dishwasher, espresso machine and .... Luckily there is a curfew on generators so it isn't quite as bad as it sounds.

pabgarde
10-04-2011, 13:45
When you pick up the rental MH try and get an idea of how long you can survive away from mains electricity because most I've seen have very limited battery capacity.
Some have generators though and it is not uncommon to be in an RV park - death valley NP for instance where there are no hookups and the park will have a couple of hundred monster RVs, most with 15kVA generators running full blast to drive three rooftop AC units, dishwasher, espresso machine and .... Luckily there is a curfew on generators so it isn't quite as bad as it sounds.

Thanks for the advices Tony. Why is so important main electricity? I will spend only 1-2 days at one location and while I am moving the battery recharges... or not?

The RV I want to rent is a Euro Tourer, that uses battery only for the fridge and hot water (gas?). It has a gas stove. My experience is that while I am driving the battery is always charging, and as I am planning to drive almost everyday it shouldn't be a problem. Am I right?

How much time are the batteries working until they go dead?

Bambi 2
04-06-2011, 17:26
We always asked permission to park at Wallmart when we were in America.
We parked at a campsite near New Orleans and I read a notice there saying don't leave out any trash as the Gaters will get it! :scared: I asked the lady at reception about the sign and she said they come out of the creek which was just a few yards away from our R.V. I did not want to get out of the R.V. til we left the site. Bambi 2


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