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Old 07-01-2020, 06:05 PM   #1
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RV to memorial service?

Hey all, long time lurker and hopeful future RVer. Sorry for the length of the post.

Sorry for the morbid question, but I'm here to ask it as this is likely the best place.

My uncle just died of cancer last night. My mom (70) and I (51) are trying to figure out how to get from the Tampa area of FL to Los Angeles.

We don't have exact dates. My uncle is being cremated and we already have a plot, so it would be a memorial service at an unspecified date in the future.

For obvious reasons, my mom and I are very hesitant to fly, her as a long time smoker (quit a few years ago) and me as someone with a compromised immune system.

We were thinking of maybe renting an RV which would cover multiple bases as a) we've been to the Tampa RV show several years now and both are really liking the idea of RVing so getting some reality on the subject would help any future decision making, b) with COVID, both flying and driving/staying in hotels can be dangerous in our personal situations and c) we could break out of the quarantine only exacerbated as we're both homebodies. Also, I suffer eating out, likely the salt. At most I can take 3 days of eating out before my system rebels.

I wish I could bring my wife along, but the timing is bad.

Anyway, I've noticed on both RVshare.com and outdoorsy.com that most of the RVs have pretty restrictive mileage limits and thus, I don't know if a cross country RV trip is even possible.

The trip is 2500mi each way, so I figure we'd put on 6kmi at MOST in a 2 week period.

Am I crazy in thinking that this is viable? As much as this is a sad time, I'd love to spend some time with my mom (we get along well and tomorrow is guaranteed to no one), spend some time in an RV and help be her emotional support.

But I dunno if it's unreasonable. There may be costs I don't know about. We were thinking of doing the Walmart parking lots and a campground or two, but with COVID, that may be an issue.

So, I dunno. Any help would be greatly appreciated. And even if it's a no go, thanks in advance for any answers.

Oh, and I looked it up and the cost of a rental RV <28ft class A or C sleeping two adults separately seems to be around $150-$200/night and gas mileage around 10-12mpg. That's in the budget along with some eating out and a few campgrounds.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Again, any help is appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:25 PM   #2
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6,000 miles in 2 weeks is 428 miles a day, or, at 60 mph average, over 7 hours a day just driving. For newbies add in an hour each for camp setup at night and takedown in the morning, and you are up to 9 hours a day. And, that doesn't allow for gas and bathroom stops, which can be another hour a day.


(FWIW, I just did Western CA to Eastern IL 4,200 miles solo round trip in 3 weeks with a week back there. I'm 65 and in good health and 7 hour driving days are too much for me. And I've been motorhoming for 50 years.)


Given your stated health conditions, I think you are being overly ambitious.


Why don't you and Mom rent a CruiseAmerica for a few days and try it out first? I'd hate for you to get part way to LA and need to bail.


Also, as newbies, I would recommend that you have your trip laid out using something like RV Trip Wizard, and make all of your reservations ahead of time, so you know how far you have to drive each day, and that you'll have a place to sleep.


Given everything you said, I'd allow at least 4 weeks.


And, rent from someplace like Cruise America. Their rigs are bare bones and simple, the documentation is excellent (we rented one a couple of years ago) and, if there is a problem, they are a phone call away.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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First Sorry for your lost, then to start with a 10-12 mpg in a class a is almost impossible to reach, for your budget maybe go with a 7-8 mpg if no genset used, then for the idea. Of leasing they Rv go see on imoova, itís a free rv rental site ,they even pay a part of the gas to go in the rv, but you have limited time to go from one spot to they other, hope that helps
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:31 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear about the death in your family! My first question: Are both you and your mother healthy enough to drive this trip? Second question is: are you aware that in addition to the daily fee, RV rentals charge mileage, too. I agree that traveling by RV is probably the safest way to go because of Covid. You are basically taking your house with you and you don't have to leave it except visits to the grocery store and fuel stops. A cross-country trip would be a lot more feasable if you had your own RV or motorhome. I bought mine nearly 4 years ago for $26K and it had only 62K miles on the clock. Maybe you could do the same and go on this memorial but... it takes time, research, and thought which you may not have.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:36 PM   #5
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We drove from FL near Gainesville thru: AL-GA-AR-OK-NM-and are now in CO heading to WY and ID. We took our time but encountered zero problems. You should have no problem driving her down I-10 or I-40 tho I strongly recommend staying away from OK horrible roads, as bad if not worse than LA.


The problematic states are in the NE and the MN-WI-MI area and the left coast WA and OR tho WA is worse. Now this is just from my experience and from reading news reports. I am not sure what is going on in AZ but I think they may have just closed the state parks, not private cg.


With two people driving you should be able to cross to CA in 5 days easy. We did Gainesville to Yosemite in 4 1/2 days once but that was special circumstances. Car trouble and unchangeable reservations in Yosemite. Here is what I would expect:
Day one stop in LA or maybe east TX.

Day two: West Texas
Day three: West NM
Day four: West AZ or into southern CA
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:41 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for the reply.

I'm okay to drive as is my mom and have driven across the country multiple times including driving one of those big 26' Penske Hertz rental trucks from PA to CA through GA and then the south.

The purpose of this trip isn't really a vacation.

It's to get to LA as fast as possible and return.

I'm just trying to avoid airplanes as well as too many restaurants/hotels as possible.

I know that such a schedule would be ambitious, but with two people sharing the driving, it's doable. That's the one part I feel confident about. The rest?...

I do not have the timetable to rent something on a trial basis as we may need to leave in a few weeks or it may be a few months. We don't know, yet.

We DEFINITELY will plan all this out in advance and if we can book camgrounds all the way across and back, we'll do that as we'd rather have hookups and power at night than boon docking if we can avoid it.

Also, thanks for the Cruise America recommendation. I'll call them and ask an agent about the mileage.

As for the 10-12mpg, that's the stated mileage numbers on the rigs. The Jayco Alante 26x is gas powered and is rated at 12mpg and the Thor Chateau 22E is rated at 10mpg. I won't be pushing the speed and we'll be light other than having fresh water and fuel as we'll only be bringing minimal clothes for the trip and some food for the fridge.

but yeah, it'll be less in practice and I'll plan for that.

So much to consider...
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:45 PM   #7
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I believe all RV rentals also charge a mileage charge over a relatively small daily allowance. I believe on a round trip rental, Cruise America charges at least $.35 a mile over 100 miles per day (the rate is higher on their larger RVs). Your 24 day, 6000 mile trip would cost you around $1600.00 in mileage fees on top of the rental charge. Figure on a minimum of 800 Gallons of gas at $2.50 and that's another $2000.00 The rig will run around $200/night so that's $2800. You are already at $6400.00. On top of that you will have a minimum of 8 days of driving for 6 days of visiting. Be sure to check out the sleeping, dining and bathroom situations before committing. Tight spaces, small showers and pull out beds are not for everyone. Operating an RV is not the same as driving a car. It will be very stressful at first, especially if you are already stressed about a funeral. Instead :

Buy plane tickets. Splurge on 1st Class if you are really worried about being crowded. Tampa to LAX is less than $1200 per person round trip, one stop, first class cabin. You could go coach for as little as $188 per person. Buy; andwear the absolute best masks you can find, buy a bottle of sanitizer at the airport and you will be as safe as stopping in any random grocery store. remember, air travel is down aroud 80% so there is no standing in lines, no crowded terminals and with a bit of research you will find an airline currently keeping the middle seats open. Wearing masks on flights is mandatory for everyone. Flying isn't playing Russian roulette with three bullets in the revolver.

Or...consider just passing on the funeral and plan a memorial trip when you feel less stressed and scared. I don't think your deceased uncle will protest very much.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tommar View Post
Sorry to hear about the death in your family! My first question: Are both you and your mother healthy enough to drive this trip? Second question is: are you aware that in addition to the daily fee, RV rentals charge mileage, too. I agree that traveling by RV is probably the safest way to go because of Covid. You are basically taking your house with you and you don't have to leave it except visits to the grocery store and fuel stops. A cross-country trip would be a lot more feasable if you had your own RV or motorhome. I bought mine nearly 4 years ago for $26K and it had only 62K miles on the clock. Maybe you could do the same and go on this memorial but... it takes time, research, and thought which you may not have.
Yeah, we both want a motorhome and have seriously considered sharing one.

But you're right that we don't really have the time to shop and do it right and as everyone on here knows, there are few things more painful to the wallet than a poorly considered RV purchase...

We are both healthy enough to drive it, thankfully, which is of course a very big deal that many people underestimate. My wife doesn't enjoy driving for long periods and I always have, so I'd be good.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:52 PM   #9
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You're setting yourself up for a very expensive, stressful trip, especially if you aren't completely familiar with RVs and are set on traveling so fast.

The rental, fuel, mileage, and park fees will be substantial. If you're dedicated to the idea and have a half decent tow vehicle, it might make for a better experience just to purchase a trailer and take your time, cutting out the rental and mileage fees. You can sell it after the fact or may very well want to keep it.

Also if you're renting a class C, that will be your sole transportation unless you rent a car at your destination or rely on cabs/Uber/Lyft. That's either a major inconvenience or an additional expense.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kcdogger View Post
I believe all RV rentals also charge a mileage charge over a relatively small daily allowance. I believe on a round trip rental, Cruise America charges $.35 a mile over 100 miles per day. Your 24 day, 6000 mile trip would cost you around $1600.00 in mileage fees on top of the rental charge. Figure on a minimum of 800 Gallons of gas at $2.50 and that's another $2000.00 The rig will run around $200/night so that's $2800. You are already at $6400.00. On top of that you will have a minimum of 8 days of driving for 6 days of visiting. Buy plane tickets. Splurge on 1st Class if you are really worried about being crowded. Or...consider just passing on the funeral and plan a memorial trip when you feel less stressed and scared. I don't think your deceased uncle will protest very much.
yeah, that may be how it is. It's my mom's brother so she'd be pretty torn up to not attend the memorial service and he's been fighting the cancer for so long that we're glad he's at rest now.

I suppose that if COVID continues to ramp up into flu season, then the memorial may not even happen until next summer and by then, we're looking at a whole new set of information. I dunno what the world will look like tomorrow, let alone next summer, so we'll see.

You're absolutely right that the costs may make this prohibitive. It's a large part of why I asked.

I also am not aware if anyone rents RVs with unlimited miles, but a higher rate to offset that. I dunno. I'm excellent at research, but it's hard when I don't really know all the questions (and as is often the case, you won't know the question until you already need the answer...parenting...RVing...buying a home...ya know...the little things)
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:03 PM   #11
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You're setting yourself up for a very expensive, stressful trip, especially if you aren't completely familiar with RVs and are set on traveling so fast.

The rental, fuel, mileage, and park fees will be substantial. If you're dedicated to the idea and have a half decent tow vehicle, it might make for a better experience just to purchase a trailer and take your time, cutting out the rental and mileage fees. You can sell it after the fact or may very well want to keep it.

Also if you're renting a class C, that will be your sole transportation unless you rent a car at your destination or rely on cabs/Uber/Lyft. That's either a major inconvenience or an additional expense.
Well, it's a large part of why I asked.

I also know that once in LA, that having a small Class A or Class C will be a huge PITA... but we know that area well enough to figure it out.

Part of the expense could be written off as investigating RVing as we don't own one now and are seriously considering buying one.

And honestly, something like the Jayco Alante 26X seems like a heckuva compromise between big busses and being able to drive most places.

But yeah, I dunno. Lots to consider.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Agesilaus View Post
We drove from FL near Gainesville thru: AL-GA-AR-OK-NM-and are now in CO heading to WY and ID. We took our time but encountered zero problems. You should have no problem driving her down I-10 or I-40 tho I strongly recommend staying away from OK horrible roads, as bad if not worse than LA.


The problematic states are in the NE and the MN-WI-MI area and the left coast WA and OR tho WA is worse. Now this is just from my experience and from reading news reports. I am not sure what is going on in AZ but I think they may have just closed the state parks, not private cg.


With two people driving you should be able to cross to CA in 5 days easy. We did Gainesville to Yosemite in 4 1/2 days once but that was special circumstances. Car trouble and unchangeable reservations in Yosemite. Here is what I would expect:
Day one stop in LA or maybe east TX.

Day two: West Texas
Day three: West NM
Day four: West AZ or into southern CA
Thanks, yeah. We know it would be a much quicker trip than we'd like, but the length of daily drive should be doable. I'm thinking 5 days with maybe the 2nd or 3rd day being a longer day so that our pull in to LA isn't a late one.

With COVID, I dunno if campgrounds would be more or less expensive or even available or even if boondocking in Walmart parking lots is still possible.

The good part about such a trip beyond learning about RVing and getting to spend time together is that we have family/friends in Houston and Austin such that we could also do some visiting.

So thankful to this community b/c without it, there's no way I could consider such a trip as there would be far too many unknowns.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:44 PM   #13
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Keep in mind driving a MH - a CL C will be slower traveling than in an auto or van. Have you considered renting a CL B+? Yes, they are smaller in size, but people have full-timed in them. They are also just like driving a van instead of a larger truck/CL C, which means parking and driving in the city is much more convenient.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:37 PM   #14
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Keep in mind driving a MH - a CL C will be slower traveling than in an auto or van. Have you considered renting a CL B+? Yes, they are smaller in size, but people have full-timed in them. They are also just like driving a van instead of a larger truck/CL C, which means parking and driving in the city is much more convenient.
I did look at class B+.

The big issue is that we'd need separate adult beds for such a long trip, something that can be had easily in a class A like the Jayco or most Class C cabovers.

I'll definitely keep looking, but without definite dates, it's hard to know what inventory I'll have to choose from.

I've mentioned it in other posts, but the Jayco Alante was a real surprise as I didn't realize Class A rigs came that short. It's shorter than many B+ and C coaches. Another thing to consider.
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