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Old 08-01-2018, 07:45 PM   #1
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Open jaw rental itinerary: SEA-SF. Thoughts?

Hello everyone. I am a newbie planning a large family trip (2 x Class A's) of the western state National Parks next August and I welcome feedback on proposed trip….

So far we are tempted to do a one-way ('open jaw') type of rental, starting in Seattle and ending in San Francisco. In terms of time/destinations, we're thinking 15-16 days and the following itinerary: Sea --> Vancouver --> Banff--> Glacier --> Yellowstone --> Bryce --> Zion --> Vegas --> Yosemite --> SF. Google maps pegs it at 2,900 miles and 49 hours of driving. (Note: the 1st night would be in Vancouver, and the last (15th/16th) night would be in Yosemite, before dropping off the next/final day in SF.)

So...a few questions for the more experienced/savvy amongst you...any/all thoughts appreciated...

1. Are Class A's too much to handle for newbies?

2. Is the itinerary too much/too ambitious?

3. Might the rental company object to a part of the trip going in to Canada?

3. If we get on it now (12 months in advance), will we be able to make all the necessary RV park reservations?

4. Any other thoughts for newbies?

Thanks much!!
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:42 PM   #2
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Glad to have you here with us.

If you're set on a class A MH rent one for a weekend and stay close to home. You'll see whether or not it is too much for you. Bear in mind that some of the route you're planning involves mountain driving.

It is a bit of an ambitious itinerary, but if you like driving it's okay. However it does't leave a lot of time at each destination to take in the sites that the areas will offer.

You'll have to ask the rental companies what there policy is regarding travel to Canada.

Twelve months is plenty of time to plan the trip and get your reservations. You should even be able to get side by side sites.

Good luck with your plans.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 08-01-2018, 09:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for your comments. I agree with your thinking and definitely will do a test run soon.

The other part of the proposed itinerary that concerns me is that it currently is comprised of 100% 'marquee' (i.e. crowded) stops. I suspect it would be wise of us to weave in one or two 'off the run' spots, even if that means dropping one or two of our first choices.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:13 PM   #4
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Don't expect to do that driving in 49 hours, expect closer to 60 hours, maybe 80 if you don't have experience driving class A's it can be fatiguing and you may want to pull off every 15-20 miles for a few minutes until you get the hang of it, which may take 500+ miles. I have 10,000 miles of experience in my current coach, and still plan my driving estimating averaging 50 mph and try to do no more than 300 miles per day.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:45 PM   #5
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You will be hard pressed to get all that in....without just doing "whistle stops" at each destination..
And i suspect you may have some real issues getting a RV rental outfit to OK leaving the US..
You "might" want to leave the Canadian excursion for a later date, and pick either Bryce or Zion, and leaving the other for a later date as well....
It will take several days each...just to see and explore the remaining locations
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:47 PM   #6
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I hear you. Driving comfort level and itinerary are both concerns, hence the questions. As mentioned to a prior poster, I will do a test run soon to see how I like it. If the driving experience is problematic, one option would be to downsize to a Class B.

And shortening the itinerary is another challenge, but perhaps wise if we want to avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.

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Old 08-01-2018, 11:04 PM   #7
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3,000 miles in two weeks won't be fun. I'd cut that trip in half.

If you are lucky you might average 50 miles an hour depending on road construction, etc.

August can be interesting for reservations. The problem with reservations is that if you have a break down and are stuck for a couple days everything goes to heck in a handbasket.

Two people learning how to drive a class A on a long first trip will certainly make for some interesting stories to tell around the campfire 10 years from now.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:33 PM   #8
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Yes, a lot of hours on the road which wouldn't give you a whole lot of time to sightsee. We visited Yellowstone several years back and thought 3 days would be enough to do everything we wanted. It wasn't. You're just not going to get much time at each of the stops you have planned.

Just thinking out loud here,,, How many people will there be on the trip? I ask because many Class Cs have a lot of sleeping space. If you can all fit for sleeping, then your other vehicle could be something like a passenger van that everyone could ride in for sightseeing.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
3,000 miles in two weeks won't be fun. I'd cut that trip in half.

3,000 miles in 16 days is about 187 miles a day. Averaging 50 that's less than 4 hours of driving on a given day.

The part that I would be concerned about is the Canada potion. Many rental companies don't have insurance north of the border so you're running a lot of risk.

Personally, I'd look at a US route and give yourself 1-2 days at each park and a longer travel day between them. That would give you time to settle and a day or two to explore before having to break down camp. You won't see everything but people go to places for years and still don't see everything but it will help get your feet wet and you'll know which places have enough interest that you'd like to return and spend more time.

If you did a US route, you could start by taking Rte 20 across North Cascades National Park. There's a campground there and would be an easy drive from Seattle. You could also go to Grand Coulee Dam for a slightly longer drive and then go over to Glacier for your first big stop. That would allow you to get your feet wet and ready for the days ahead.

You might also want to consider a Class C. That's what we're currently upgrading to. It's easier to drive and the learning curve would be less. Just a thought.

Good luck with the planning!
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:14 AM   #10
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Even for young folks that's way too many miles and way too many stops. Just fueling every day takes much more time than in a car, setting up and breaking camp at campgrounds takes time. Three or four days at a National Park only gives you a quick look at the place.

If you want that to be an enjoyable trip, cut your stops to three places and rent a car at the stop. Weather is always unpredictable. Make this trip a good memory instead of the trip from hell.

I got nauseous just reading what you hoped to accomplish in 15 days.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:25 AM   #11
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First off welcome to the forum. Some of my thougths.
1. Renting a class A. Try it out first as mentioned before. Will the rental company allow you to travel to Canada? What are you going to use to do your sight seeing and getting about. You will find it difficult to explore many of the areas driving your Class A around and parking many times impossible. This is why the majority of folks traveling in a Class A tow a vehicle behind.

2. You are trying to cram in much to much to enjoy your trip. You will be spending too much time driving and not enough exploring the areas you are going to. I would cut the trip by half and concentrate on 4-6 stops with 2 days or so at each one. You could easily spend 4-6 days at each of your stops and fell like you did not see it all.
Getting reservations at this time should not be much of a problem but do know that at many of the parks (NPs and NFs) depending on the length of your rig you may not be able to get camp sites.

Having said all of that ….Enjoy the Adventure.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:21 AM   #12
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Hope the trip works out well for you.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:38 PM   #13
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On Cruise America's website they basically say have a ball crossing the border. Most US insurance policies cover you in Canada. I would say that the West Coast and Rockies aren't flat, you will pulling lots of grades and passes, you can't look at the distance and figure 60 minutes equals 60 miles... Metro Seattle and Vancouver, BC and I5 between them are a traffic nightmare I wouldn't try to drive in either city with class A. In all honesty to cover your itinerary you would be better off renting mini vans and staying in motels.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:39 PM   #14
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sounds like a rather ambitious trip that could take a toll on you and the family. trying to take in that much every day plus the driving and setting up camp every day is draining. might want to take a couple days break in one spot to regroup on the way.
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