The first half of the year 2020 has not been great. Don’t let the second half slip by without making it a-lot better by getting out to see this wonderful and scenic country of ours. And a very good way of doing that is using a camper van, trailer or 5th wheel, or a motorhome. Right now July 5, 2020 much of the USA is open to visiting open spaces like National and State Parks, National Monuments, gardens, forests, most ocean and lake beaches, and pretty much everything that does not have large crowds. So this is a perfect year to get out and see areas with these kinds of features.
My first RV trip by motorhome was in 1980, forty years ago. I rented a 28′ class C motorhome and used it for a month to visit clients from Southern California to Vancouver BC. I had exactly no experience driving a rig this size and just headed out with a Good Sam campground book and a bunch of aaa maps. I don’t think we had many reservations and just basically winged it. That trip was about 5000 miles over all and was quite an adventure. We went up mostly on US route 395 to Spokane WA, and then into Canada to route 2. West to Vancouver and across to Victoria Island. Then the ferry back to the US at Port Angeles. We stopped in Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Medford, and a bunch of other places I cannot think of right now. One of the highlights was camping on the closest campground to Mt St Helens the night before it blew. I think we were the only people in the campground that were not journalists or newspaper photographers. We were on the road a couple of hours when the volcano blew the next morning.
Since 1980 we have traveled extensively by several different means, but RVing holds a special place in my heart and always will. It is the best way to see the United States if you like National Parks, Monuments, forests, deserts, the outdoors. If you want to tour the biggest cities in the US in my opinion other methods work better. It is not impossible to see some large cities and staying in an RV, but I don’t think it is the best way to travel to those places. My experience with RVing is mostly the western US. We did live and travel in the east for ten years, but we did not RV.
How do you start – I started by renting a number of motorhomes in various places I wanted to explore. That way someone else maintains and stores them and you take adventures in them. We used Cruise America, El Monte RV Rentals, and several smaller companies. Most were good experiences, but I would say that it is wise to stick with the smaller simpler rigs when renting. Most class Cs are easy to learn to drive, are pretty much like driving a van, and if you need them fixed much of the time repairs are easy to get. The one bad experience I had was renting a class A gas motorhome that was 32′. It handled horribly and for me it was a white knuckle drive for two weeks. On the other hand we rented a class C 31′ with a slide out that was super easy to drive. For two people a 24-25′ class C is a good choice.
And if you are a more experienced renter or tenter that wants to have more comfort this is a good time to buy a motorhome or towable. I personally like motorhomes but if you are going to say parked for long periods towable are likely better. We bought used the last time and I did lots of research before settling on a class A diesel pusher. We have had this one for over ten years and it is still in good condition. Well built motorhomes last a long time.
RVing has been a lot in the news lately because the sales of them has soared in the last few months. Don’t let that discourage you there are plenty of used RVs around that people want to sell. My suggestion is to get one that has been well taken care of and do not assume you can do better with a dealer than a private party. In both cases it depends on the integrity of the seller.
We are taking off on our first RV trip since January in two days. I cannot wait to go. In this case we are headed back to see family, but with lots of stops at interesting places along the way. I will add posts along the way to talk a bit about the trip. Till then – keep on traveling.