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Old 06-27-2015, 11:25 PM   #1
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Madness or doable?

My wife and I live in New Zealand and I will soon complete 30 years military service. We have a dream to buy and 5th wheel and cab and spend a year driving around America. Are we mad? Where do we start?
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:02 AM   #2
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I think you would really enjoy it.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:53 AM   #3
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Very doable...just be ready, unlike at home, for winter starting in December

Best luck and safe travels
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philrowe View Post
My wife and I live in New Zealand and I will soon complete 30 years military service. We have a dream to buy and 5th wheel and cab and spend a year driving around America. Are we mad? Where do we start?
I did an RV trip through your beautiful country several years back. One of the best trips of my life!

I don't think you are mad at all. There are so many spectacular places to visit here in America. I've been RVing for the past 10 years and have only scratched the surface. My dream destination is Alaska. It will happen, but I still work full-time, so that's the main issue.

As for where you should start, I'm biased, but I would say start in the west and head east. Alaska, Oregon coast, Redwood Forest, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park.....

My bad....and don't forget the sites in western Canada.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:28 AM   #5
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I think that's a great idea...and very doable.

Start out...I don't know what the laws are regarding how long you can be in our country nor how long you can be out of your country. I know Canadians have certain limitations. So check that out.

Auto insurance...you have to have it and you need to research that aspect.

Drivers license...Do you have an international drivers license?

Buying RV...New will run you upwards of $70,000 for a truck and fifth wheel.

Health insurance....will you be covered here in the U.S.?

Money...How will you access your vast fortune back home and pay bills?

As far as seeing the U.S....set a goal. For example my wife and I have gone to all the presidential museums in the U.S. In the process we have gone to all the lower 48 states. So pick out some things you'd like to see and go visit them.

Do things in the northern part of the country in May through September before snow arrives and then do the southern part of the country October through March.

Do this trip soon while you are still young and healthy.

If you visit Clovis California get a hold of me on here and I'll buy you a cup of coffee. Last of the big time spenders you know.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:29 AM   #6
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And when you do, create a video log so that we can live vicariously through your adventures and hear your great New Zealand accent.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:40 AM   #7
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Welcome, glad to meet you!
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:01 AM   #8
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First of all as a VietNam vet thanks for your service. Your idea is very doable I ran into a guy from Germany a few years ago who was doing exactly what your talking about, other then a problem with broken english, much better then my German, he and his wife were having a ball here in the greatest country in the world. Go for it!
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:59 AM   #9
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Depending on what you want to see 1 year may not be enough time. USA is a big country with lots of things to see and do. I think it would be a great trip. If you are willing to buy used you can get a nice RV and Truck for a reasonable price and can recover most of your investment when you leave.

Good Luck
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:39 AM   #10
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Totally doable. There are a few members of this forum who come from different countries. Danes on tour of one that come to mind. Maybe think about looking them up and asking them questions regarding overseas travels.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:28 PM   #11
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Step 1: Change year to decade
Step 2: Visit RV dealer or used RV dealer.. Select trailer
Step 3: Visit Truck dealre (or if you like Wil-Ro www trail-hauler com back when it worked. (have not checked it recently. Left periods out so it will not test) (They are for folks who do not want to ask Will My Truck Tow This.. Trust me.. Their trucks WILL tow it.. Fully loaded.)

But a truck at least one size LARGER than what they tell you you need to tow it.

ENJOY.
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:01 PM   #12
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Definitely doable!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:11 PM   #13
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Given that New Zealand is really the 8th state of Australia, it is likely that the rules that we have to work within are the same ones you will have to comply with.

We got a 5-year B1/B2 visa which lets you spend 6 months at a time in the US and you can arrive without a return ticket which is a big advantage if you don't want to plan everything down to the last minute.

There are further rules about whether that 6 months includes time spent in Canada and Mexico, and there are rules about how you can reset the timer by going to a non-contiguous country.

We bought a motorhome - diesel pusher - via a Limited Liability Company in Montana. No sales tax, no annual inspections and permanent registration if it is over 10 years old. This gets around problems with aliens owning and insuring a vehicle in many states. Not the only way, but works for us. LLC can own any number of vehicles and also owns our camper currently in Peru.
Don't get too set on what sort of vehicle you want. Motorhomes are easier to set up than comparable fivers and can actually be cheaper. Disadvantages too of course.

Even the little coffee kiosks in the US have minimum 5 acre parking lots so getting around in a big vehicle isn't a problem. There are times when a toad behind would be nice, but having two vehicles just adds to the complexity.

We store the MH in a secure yard near LA - costs about $60 a month.

Get insurance from progressive and cancel it when we put it into storage.

Been from bottom of Mexico to Alaska and so far been over 5 times, each time for 3 to 6 months. Just the western third of the US where the scenery is what we are looking for. Eastern states have all the historical stuff that some prefer, but we require unlimited scope for boondocking (you call Freedom Camping) and the western third has heaps of that. First 4 month trip we used a commercial campground exactly once.

Have fun.

We do.

BTW another possibility for the more adventurous is to buy something a bit smaller - like a truck camper, or smaller motorhome and first head up to Canada for three months in the summer and then head slowly south following the fall (autumn) colours and then just keep going south until you reach Ushuaia. Trip to Galapagos when you get to Ecuador and then to Antarctica when you get to Ushuaia. Amazing how many items you can tick off on your must see, must do list and you can just keep traveling with the seasons forever.

Then there is Europe.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:20 AM   #14
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Yes it's doable. Just plan ahead and like someone else mentioned, winter starts in December here.
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