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Old 02-22-2013, 07:13 PM   #1
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new rv owner questions

Hello all, I have read many of your posts and found them very helpful. I am retiring in 3 months and always wanted an rv. I bought one and plan to travel through national parks, etc and see america, my first trip through the western US will be in late august when my kids are off to college. Leaving Minnesota to Yellowstone, yosemite, sequoia, grand canyon and back home. I have flown over all of them hundreds of time but have never been to any of them. Time to see america other than from a business perspective. I will list a few questions, pretty basic but I am not a camper so appreciate your help.
-do you have to make reservations at campgrounds? Don't really want to be on a schedule so what do you do if you really like a place and want to stay longer?
-how much is a campsite per night?
-do you empty your black, gray and water tanks every time before you hit the road?
-My rv is winterized so batteries out but I am working on it and completely redoing the interior. Want to move the slider out for the new floor. My question is can I just put in the main battery(and not the other 2) and move the slider?
-we are traveling to see things at a leasurely pace, not because we want to hang out and camp. Any must see things along the route I described above that would be reasonably on the way?
-putting new laminate floor in, I know you need to climitize the floor in your rv for a few days, can i do that when it is cold and then install the floor or do I need to wait until it gets warmer. I have no access to heat up the rv but would like to get the floor done.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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First, welcome to the forum. I think youll find answers to your questions for many here have faced the same challenges your facing. You need to add the make and model of your RV to your profile for better replyes on your questions. Regarding the batterys and the slide out, in my coach the motor has to be running to slide in/out. You didn't say how long a trip you were planning, but to do justice to all the sites listed you'll need several weeks. There should be others that can better answer your question so hang in there and oh yeah WELCOME.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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You may need to make a few reservations because until after Labor Day Weekend most kids are still out of school. After that you may need to see if sites are available. I know in the PNW that through the weekend following the Holiday campgrounds are very full and after that no reservations are taken. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:07 AM   #4
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-do you have to make reservations at campgrounds? Don't really want to be on a schedule so what do you do if you really like a place and want to stay longer?

If you are going during prime vacation times you will need reservations.

-how much is a campsite per night?

This is like how much is a hotel room, you can find state parks for $20 and RV resorts for $100 plus a night. Research online for the spots you are looking and and check reiews. Good Sams Club is a good place to start and Reserve America for National and State parks.

-do you empty your black, gray and water tanks every time before you hit the road?

Usually, traveling with full tanks means more weight and can decrease mileage. Always dump black first so gray can help clean sewer hoses. Black tank should be as close to full as possible, this will help flush all solids out.

-My rv is winterized so batteries out but I am working on it and completely redoing the interior. Want to move the slider out for the new floor. My question is can I just put in the main battery(and not the other 2) and move the slider?

If you can plug in to a shore power source it should operate slide.

Good luck and great travels!!
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:19 AM   #5
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RV Geeks has a great video on dumping Black Tanks, as well as many other interesting items for a beginning RVer.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:54 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum! You will really enjoy your new life style!

We just came back from a 2-week round trip Colorado, Utah, Las Wages, Arizona, New Mexico then back up to Colorado in February. We really didn't plan where we were going to go except maybe a day in advance. We got the BIG campsite book from Camping World and usually called the campsite that caught our interest 2-3 hours out to make sure that they were open and had a site available (it is winter and many campsites are closed for the season or close early in the day). We paid from low $20s to mid-$40s per night, full hook-ups at private campgrounds throughout.

During the summer, prices usually go up. Weekends sites here out West may be full, especially at the national and state parks (make reservations for those). Most of them have more limited facilities and sites may not be as level, but the activities and being among nature more than make up for it (besides, they are also usually cheaper). And of course, in an RV, you can always go cheap and boon-dock it or sleep in the Wallmart parking lot if needed.

Hope this helps with your first couple of questions. There are lots of discussions throughout on camping locations and things to do, so be sure to read through the other forums as time permits.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:22 AM   #7
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Hello Quincy-

A few thoughts regarding your questions (in no particular order)

A number of factors come into play regarding campsite selection and availability. As someone previously noted, you didn't indicate your vehicle length/toad, etc. and campground, particularly National Parks/forests are not designed for huge rigs.

I was a Montana LEO for 11 years and two of my patrol areas included Kalispell (Glacier NP) and West Yellowstone (YNP). The roads in both those parks (Going To The Sun and YNP's main road) are pretty tight for long rigs. Furthermore, most of the campgrounds in those parks stay full pretty much the entire season so reservations are definitely recommended. My compatriots in CA attested to the same situations in Yosemite and others. The more nationally (and internationally) known the park, the more difficult to simply drive in and hope. Similarly, the commercial facilities around those parks are heavily patronized and reservations are recommended at those as well. I would recommend you acquire publications like Woodall's Campground Directory and perhaps "The Next Exit" for your reference library.

As a footnote, entry fees to national parks have risen, and will continue to rise, so it may be in your best interest to obtain either an annual or lifetime pass, depending on your eligibility:
U.S. National Park ServiceAmerica the Beautiful

In regard to fresh/gray/black water management. Again depends on how you'll use/travel with your new rig. If you do "dry/boondocking" camping (no electrical/water/sewage hookups) you'll want to maintain some fresh water onboard, and of course you'll have to haul your gray/black water with you until you find a dump station (many truck stops have RV dump stations and a Rand McNally Motor Carrier Atlas 2013 Deluxe Motor Carriers' Road Atlas would also be an excellent addition to your onboard library).

As has been pointed out, fluid weights (including fuel) subract significantly from vehicle performance and economy. Nonetheless if you're only spending a night or two at a campground, your black water tank will not be full enough to empty unless you fill it with water. (Note: if you're camping at a full hookup site (electric/water/sewage) don't simply open your black and gray water dump valves after you connect to the campground sewage system. Your black water system needs healthy fluid flows to eliminate solids and as it's been pointed out, gray water dumping after black water dumping helps to flush out your sewage hose.)

All of this will dictate that sometimes you'll be traveling with residual fluids in all three plumbing system tanks.

In all of our various campers we've carried some fresh water, usually half the fresh water tank capacity. And of course you'll have a full hot water heater in most cases. When we've hit the half full mark on either gray or black water (and we're traveling instead of remaining at one campsite) we usually make a point of filling up the black water tank with hose water and then dumping both. Others will have differing opinions.

Happy trails.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:49 AM   #8
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Hello there fellow Minnesotan. I thought it was pretty Neat i came across your post.Im from New ulm, where you from? you should post a pic of rig up. I just got a rv myself this month. and funny thing Me and the wife was planning on heading in the same direction and around the same time frame..Before it gets cold again anyways..Idk what kind of info you like to get on things..but I have been doing alot of research of rving, since ima newbie too.. And you can google any question and it will show multiple answers. with tons of websites.and if you like to read. I have 4 books right now. and the first one is (Take back your life)..its pretty good read and they we're like you and never camped let alone Rving. and (rv vacations for dummies) ( the rver's bible) living aboard your rv..utube is full of how to videos....and you dont need to make a account to view them. and dont forget everyone on here, there is a thread or post about almost everything on here. I was surpised to see so many people with the same and exact rv as me.
Take care,keep in touch & maybe we'll see eachother on the road some day!
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:21 PM   #10
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Hi Quincybear,
Welcome to iRV2. A word of caution about connecting the coach to shore power with the batteries already out of the coach. The battery wires may be hanging only heaven knows where. They may be touching a frame or other component that when connected to shore power might make short work of a circuit or two. Before connecting to shore power, consider turning off the converter (at the coach breaker box). Also, tape the positive wires that came off the positive post of the batteries. Not only does this prevent unwanted short circuits, but it reminds you which of the wires go to the positive battery posts.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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Thank you. We live in the western suburbs of the cities, medina to be exact. I actually bought my rv in new ulm this summer from jenkins motors. A local gentleman had traded it in on a truck. U probably saw it in their lot as it was the only rv they've had. safe travels
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:12 AM   #12
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I Cant remember seeing it, but its hard to say for sure..
It is nice to talk to a new rver from the same state and only a few hours away from eachother tho!!!
cant you run a extenstion cord with a small heater in the rv for warmth? alot of people will say its dangerous, but if your out there working..whats the difference than running one in the house..Thats what i been doing while i been upgrading some water damage, its maybe 30 outside and 50 inside..works for me.. as far as battery thing. idk really. my rv has to have two batteries to start.one up front. one down below..put i would imagine if you hook up a battery you should be able to slide it out..try it,whats the worst that can happin..it dont work. Good luck and cant wait too see some pictures!
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:19 AM   #13
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Quincybear,

One of the neat features of the forum is "Search". Go to the top toolbar, type in a category, and hit GO. You will probably find there are discussions for every one of your questions.
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