Roadtrip Chicago To San Fransisco.
Roadtrip Chicago To San Fransisco.
Nov 24 2011, 10:23 AM
Joined: 24-November 11
Member No.: 65014
I have read through the forum, and think you have a nice forum.
Me and one of my friends have planned a trip to the U.S. in April-May 2012th Therefore, I would hear what tips and tricks you have because we have never been to America before.
We must start in the city of Chicago and end in San Francisco. We have 19 days to ride in.
We are from Europe (Denmark), so it's exciting to travel to the U.S..
I have following questions which I hope some will answer:
Which route should we take? We would like to visit St. Louis, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, also running with Highway 1 to San Francisco.
Is there anything you should be aware of when you book places for your RV?
We have rented through Cruise America, it is a good company?
Can you sleep for free at Wall-Mart parking lots?
I very much hope that some will take the time to answer the above.
Nov 30 2011, 05:35 PM
Joined: 21-November 11
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Member No.: 64976
Seems like most of your questions have been answered, but since I'm also from Denmark, and have been on several road trips in USA with Cruise America motorhomes, I thought I would join the thread.
My last trip this summer in 2011, was from Chicago to the West coast and back again. We had the RV for 7 weeks, and took a northern route through Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier etc. to California. Then Yosemite, Utah, Colorado, St. Louis, Niagara Falls and back to Chicago.
I've been satisfied with Cruise America. And since you are getting a brand new motorhome, you should be just fine.
Cruise America don't rent GPS's. The signs are usually good in America, so it's not a problem finding your way with a Rand McNally map. I've done it on many roatrips with a normal car, staying at motels. But when travelling with a motorhome, I do like to have a GPS. It's great when you need to find a supermarket, that you can just ask the GPS to find one. Also you can't always just make a u-turn with a motorhome, so sometimes it just makes things easier with a GPS. If you have a GPS in Denmark you could consider buying a US map for it, otherwise you could buy a cheap GPS at Walmart.
When you book campgrounds what you have to know is: It's a 25 feet class C motorhome with no slides, and you are not towing (many Americans tow a smaller vehicle behind the motorhome). Full hookup means water/electric/sewer (Cruise America don't have TV's, so don't worry about cable TV). You don't need to empty the tanks every day, so you don't need to pay the extra bucks for full hookup, for the trip you are doing. And when you need to empty the tanks, there's usually a dumpstation. Full hookup is nice if you stay at the same campground for a long time. But not really necesary for your trip.
Since you are travelling in april/may the northern route through Yellowstone is not a good plan. So the southern route through Albuquerque is probably the best idea.
The danish phones, even when they are quadband is, as good as useless on a roadtrip. They work in the big cities, but as soon as you get away from the cities, there are no signal. On my last trip I went to a Verizon store and bought a phone including some talk time. They set it all up, so I was good to go when I left the shop. I think it was around 75$ including the phone. The difference is that this is a CDMA phone instead of GSM. I had network on this Verizon phone almost everywhere on the trip, even in most of the national parks. I asked around before my trip, and most people recommended Verizon, for network coverage in the countryside.
Verizon also sells prepaid USB wireless internet. I think it's around 100$. I haven't tried it, because most campgrounds offers free WiFi, so that's what I have been using.
As for gas, it is a lot cheaper in US, but a C25 only does around 3,5 km/l. You have to calculate around 1,50 DKK/KM in your budget. Someone else mentioned the problem about having to enter a Zip code, sometimes when buying gas. Sometimes it works if you enter a zero before you danish zip code. I'm from 2300 so I just enter 02300. For me it works maybe 2 out of 3 times. If it dosn't then you have to go inside and pay.
I don't think you'll have any problem meeting american people. I'm 33, so also younger than most people we meet at the campgrounds, and I'm not a person who easily gets into a conversation with people. Here in Denmark I've been staying in the same apartmen for 15 years, and I seriously don't know any of the other people living in the building. But I have around 30 different business cards from americans that I've talked to on my road trips. So I'd say that americans are usually very easy to get in contact with.
I have spent a lot of time in areas where snakes are living, and I've seen many signs about snakes. But I have never seen a snake yet.
In St Louis the Casino Queen has a RV campground. This is a very central location, just one stop with the Metra train, and then you are at the Gateway Arch. In regard to your other question, then I've always felt completely safe on all my trips, and never had any problems. But St. Louis is a big city, and some areas are less nice than others. So this is a place I would personally prefere to stay at a campground, for the safety. And Casino Queen is a good location.
After St. Louis you could take a couple of days where you 'do some miles'. In my opinion this is not the most interesting landscapes in America. So I would rather have a couple of driving days, and then have more time out west.
When you get to Grand Canyon, I think south rim would be the best, this time of year. I believe it's usually a bit warmer than north rim. After that I would go through Utah. You could take a tour in Antelope Canyon from Page, and also walk the trail out to Horse Shoe Bend just south of Page. Then drive to Bryce Canyon, and after that go to Zion and then Las Vegas.
When you are planning the trip, keep in mind that you usually drive a bit slower in a motorhome. Even though the speed limit is the same for cars and motorhomes, it just takes a little more time. You are going through some mountain areas, and you can't always reach the speed limit up hill, you go a little slower in the turns, you accelerate slower, it takes longer to fill those 55 gallon tanks etc. It just is a bit slower than a car...but hey, it's vacation, not getaway! But it is a good thing to keep in mind. I had a few very long days on my first motorhome trip, because I was used to driving a normal car on my earlier trips.