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Old 07-26-2010, 07:55 PM   #61
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I suppose the distances are relatively shorter than in the States.
Much.

The entire country of France is nearly identical in area to the state of Texas. Personally, I wouldn't have any trouble at all spending an entire year exploring France. To be charitable, lets just say I'd have a tougher time doing that in Texas.

The European public transportation systems are also generally better than those of the U.S. And there is no reason you can't rent a hotel room for a couple of nights in cities where you want to do that.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:39 PM   #62
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Much.

The entire country of France is nearly identical in area to the state of Texas. Personally, I wouldn't have any trouble at all spending an entire year exploring France. To be charitable, lets just say I'd have a tougher time doing that in Texas.

The European public transportation systems are also generally better than those of the U.S. And there is no reason you can't rent a hotel room for a couple of nights in cities where you want to do that.
True. You can drive across France on less than 2 tanks of gas (assuming you are not towing a trailer) and in less than a day. And France is the largest country in the EU!
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:45 PM   #63
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Perhaps you missed the photos of our Roadtrek a couple weeks ago.

No Longer An RV'er Wannabe...

Good looking RV Ron. Is it the 190 or 210?
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:53 PM   #64
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Good looking RV Ron. Is it the 190 or 210?
Thank you. It is a 2008 210 Versatile.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:47 PM   #65
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Thank you. It is a 2008 210 Versatile.
That's a really nice looking vehicle, Ron. I've been looking at that, the PleasureWay and the Sportsmobile. Actually, I've been checking out most all of the class b's.

Lately though, I've been thinking of buying a regular Ford or Chevy van and combining that with hotels. It would be easier to maintain, I wouldn't have to dump the poo and I could park it anywhere.

The food part is important. I really wouldn't want to eat out every meal, so that is a draw back to the regular van idea.

I am just under three years away from retirement so I don't need to decide what to buy right away.

One of my concerns is what are the RV parks like? How do you find them and do you need advance reservations? What are the average rates per night? Do the people who stay there interact a lot with each other?

It might be kind of lonely with just me and my partner traveling and staying in hotels or in the boondogles. RV parks may offer more socialization.

Then again another idea we've had is to rent an apartment or a house for a month or two at a time and travel between destinations.

There are so many choices ....
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:34 AM   #66
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One of my concerns is what are the RV parks like? How do you find them and do you need advance reservations? What are the average rates per night? Do the people who stay there interact a lot with each other?

It might be kind of lonely with just me and my partner traveling and staying in hotels or in the boondogles. RV parks may offer more socialization.
RV parks are like hotels and motels - they vary from run-down places you don't want to stay to luxurious resorts with amazing amenities. There are all sorts of resources on the net to locate RV parks and provide info. One I particularly like is RV Park Reviews which provides user reviews of thousands of RV parks all over North America. There are many other web resources to help you find parks and almost all parks have websites - like this one: Tallahassee RV Park

As to reservations, it is usually a good idea but not always necessary depending on the park, the season, the location, etc. Rates range from $10 or so in Corps of Engineer parks to $100 in "exclusive" locations such as Disney World parks. The average runs around $30.

You will find as much or as little interaction as you want at these parks, some more than others. The RV crowd is, in general, a social bunch. Also there are many RV organizations you can join that apparently have only one purpose - having a good time. An example is the Texas Boomers organization over on a sister forum, iRV2.

Edit to add: The "dumping the poo" process really isn't a big deal. Truth is you are much less exposed to the sight and smell of human waste when you dump your tanks than when you use the toilet. Systems and equipment have been designed to make this task simple and uneventful.

Oh, and here is one other bit of information to help you decide between a hotel room and your own RV (and your own bed): Bedbugs gaining ground - CNN.com
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:25 AM   #67
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RV parks are like hotels and motels - they vary from run-down places you don't want to stay to luxurious resorts with amazing amenities. There are all sorts of resources on the net to locate RV parks and provide info. One I particularly like is RV Park Reviews which provides user reviews of thousands of RV parks all over North America. There are many other web resources to help you find parks and almost all parks have websites - like this one: Tallahassee RV Park

As to reservations, it is usually a good idea but not always necessary depending on the park, the season, the location, etc. Rates range from $10 or so in Corps of Engineer parks to $100 in "exclusive" locations such as Disney World parks. The average runs around $30.

You will find as much or as little interaction as you want at these parks, some more than others. The RV crowd is, in general, a social bunch. Also there are many RV organizations you can join that apparently have only one purpose - having a good time. An example is the Texas Boomers organization over on a sister forum, iRV2.

Edit to add: The "dumping the poo" process really isn't a big deal. Truth is you are much less exposed to the sight and smell of human waste when you dump your tanks than when you use the toilet. Systems and equipment have been designed to make this task simple and uneventful.

Oh, and here is one other bit of information to help you decide between a hotel room and your own RV (and your own bed): Bedbugs gaining ground - CNN.com
+1

We've used a combination of RV Park Reviews :: Home and a Trailer Life campground directory to find sites. So far, we haven't had a bad experience in ~90 days of continuous camping.

If you're outgoing people, I don't think you'll have any problem making friends on the road. Many of the private campgrounds run weekly events, which could include a Sunday morning brunch, a Saturday nigh karaoke competition, or really anything in between.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:46 AM   #68
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Helen, there are bags of web pages where people describe the conversions they have done on their full size vans. Dig around and you will find all kinds of creative ideas. To get you started, there are a few in here: Cheaprvliving.com
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:49 AM   #69
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Here's my RV. Once I ER I'll be bicycle touring a lot and the first trip will be across the USA. I can't wait to get going. I have everything I need on the bike, sleeping bag and pad, tent, cooking equipment etc. Fuel consists of donuts, bacon etc and the daily costs above that are minimal. Campsites are free if I just stop at the side of the road or can be $5 to $15 a night. I sometimes stop at motels when I've had a hard day, but for an extended trip I budget $50/day.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:03 AM   #70
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Here's my RV. Once I ER I'll be bicycle touring a lot and the first trip will be across the USA. I can't wait to get going. I have everything I need on the bike, sleeping bag and pad, tent, cooking equipment etc. Fuel consists of donuts, bacon etc and the daily costs above that are minimal. Campsites are free if I just stop at the side of the road...
When I was 20, maybe. Now, no way.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:09 AM   #71
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I agree with everything... well said.

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RV parks are like hotels and motels - they vary from run-down places you don't want to stay to luxurious resorts with amazing amenities. There are all sorts of resources on the net to locate RV parks and provide info
We have found that if the bathrooms/showers are nice the park will be nice. If not, then the park as a whole will be worse than terrible. The best place for this data (without actual inspection) is two directories -- Woodalls or Travel Life Directory (which is also available in a "Streets & Trips"-like version). If the Restroom Rating is 8 or above, the park will be very acceptable.

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As to reservations, it is usually a good idea but not always necessary depending on the park, the season, the location, etc. Rates range from $10 or so in Corps of Engineer parks to $100 in "exclusive" locations such as Disney World parks. The average runs around $30.
We rarely spend more than one night in a park so do not make reservations. In the hundreds of times we have just "shown up," we have only once been turned away and that time we found a park two miles away that was even better. On this same subject, we have found, lately, that the only park in a town has gone out of business. This is very irritating if the next town is an hour away. I guess, if I planned on staying at a park for several day or weeks, I would make a reservation just to make sure.

Rates are a certainly "across the board." Jackson Hole, Harpers Ferry, Key West are examples of high rates year round. The most we have ever spent is $65 (a night). We are members of the Good Sam Club (10% discount), Escapees (15%-50%), Passport America (50%) CampClubUSA (50%) and KOA (10%). We stay at so many parks that the cost of these programs are more than off-set. Therefore, our "average" is around $20-$25 a night.

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You will find as much or as little interaction as you want at these parks, some more than others. The RV crowd is, in general, a social bunch. Also there are many RV organizations you can join that apparently have only one purpose - having a good time. An example is the Texas Boomers organization over on a sister forum, iRV2.
A "Social Bunch"!! What an understatement. These are the happiest, friendliest group of people I have ever been around. On the other hand, in the off-season most of the "residents" are local workers and they are as friendly as your neighbors at home -- glad to say "Hello" but have no time for socializing.

FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) is an example of a "Social Group" that one should consider joining because they have affinity groups for any activity you may be intereted in. (We belong so that we can be members of Roadtrek International.) Escapees (mentioned above) is actually more of a "Social" organization than a discount club -- Good Sam Club also. These types of organizations are invaluable of you enjoy traveling in a caravan.

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Edit to add: The "dumping the poo" process really isn't a big deal. Truth is you are much less exposed to the sight and smell of human waste when you dump your tanks than when you use the toilet. Systems and equipment have been designed to make this task simple and uneventful.
This is extremely important. I would guess that this imaginary concern prevents almost everyone from seriously considering the RV life. The Macerator system in our Roadtrek is so easy peasy that one doesn't need to wear gloves and would not even have to wash your hands afterwards except for the road dust on the hose. (You don't have to wear googles, rubber suit or a gas mask either.)
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:09 AM   #72
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Here's my RV. Once I ER I'll be bicycle touring a lot and the first trip will be across the USA. I can't wait to get going. I have everything I need on the bike, sleeping bag and pad, tent, cooking equipment etc. Fuel consists of donuts, bacon etc and the daily costs above that are minimal. Campsites are free if I just stop at the side of the road or can be $5 to $15 a night. I sometimes stop at motels when I've had a hard day, but for an extended trip I budget $50/day.
Good for you nun! That shows how basic an RV can be.

And as brewer said, there are many possibilities with van conversions.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:22 AM   #73
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The food part is important. I really wouldn't want to eat out every meal, so that is a draw back to the regular van idea.
Helen, We travel with a conversion van and carry a two burner camp stove, a portable BBQ and a tub of pans, utensils and dishes. It's a bit more work, but for around $200 we have the tools to fix fabulous meals when we camp. As a bonus, we get to take advantage of fresh local produce. You don't need a self contained RV to do some top notch cookin' on the road
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:45 AM   #74
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Helen, We travel with a conversion van and carry a two burner camp stove, a portable BBQ and a tub of pans, utensils and dishes. It's a bit more work, but for around $200 we have the tools to fix fabulous meals when we camp. As a bonus, we get to take advantage of fresh local produce. You don't need a self contained RV to do some top notch cookin' on the road
And refrigeration? and water (including bathroom facilities)?

On the other hand, I have seen a great number of folks in RV Parks in nothing more than a four door car (the kind with the lift-up back hatch). A couple of weeks ago, a car parked beside us, after dark, and they spent about an hour taking all the stuff out and "setting up." (An incredible amount of stuff, in fact.) The next morning, the lady spent about an hour making breakfast for the two of them. She had four burners going and it included eggs and bacon, some pancake-like things, a pot of some stew/soup-like stuff, etc. She had the entire top of the park's picknic table covered with stuff leaving only the smallest of areas for them to sit at.

While she was doing that, the guy (I'm guessing they were in their 60's) was tearing the bed down -- a large roll-up peice of that memory foam stuff -- putting every thing back into vehicle and into a carrier they had on top. (They had removed the rear seats.) He even had a fairly large ladder to help with the top loading. I sat there eating my breakfast inside (it was somewhat too nippy for me) watching out the window in amazement at how much "stuff" they had -- all of it useful to the camping world (in my opinion).

When he was finished putting everything away, there was only room in the vehicle for them up front. I don't think they could have put a tooth pick in anywhere else.

I was sorely disappointed when they suddenly drove off without my speaking with them.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:26 PM   #75
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Helen, We travel with a conversion van and carry a two burner camp stove, a portable BBQ and a tub of pans, utensils and dishes. It's a bit more work, but for around $200 we have the tools to fix fabulous meals when we camp. As a bonus, we get to take advantage of fresh local produce. You don't need a self contained RV to do some top notch cookin' on the road
Excellent point.

I agree that having 100% of your meals in restaurants while traveling would be a drag and expensive....... for us anyway. But you don't need a full kitchen to eat well while on the go. We have little trouble eating well for a week while traveling by canoe and carrying only the aparatus and food we are comfortable carrying over portages........ and that ain't much! Back packers carry even less.

It's all just a matter of what you're doing, how you enjoy yourself, what you want to accomplish, the experiences you want to have, etc. All very personal decisions. Those expressing the view that the way they're traveling is the only "right way," probably actually mean it's the only "right way for themselves."
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:31 PM   #76
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We don't but... I would venture a guess that more than 75% do... or, at least, that many either have a cat on the dash looking out the window or a man on a leash nearby.
I guess the RV world is a woman's world.

Are you guys allowed to stand when you pee?

Ha
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:36 PM   #77
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Helen, there are bags of web pages where people describe the conversions they have done on their full size vans. Dig around and you will find all kinds of creative ideas. To get you started, there are a few in here: Cheaprvliving.com
Yep, there's some facinating reading on that site. I decided I'm too lazy to do a homebrew van conversion and, like you, went with a small camper-trailer. But it's interesting to read what is being done to turn a used van into very livable accomodations for the spartan minded individual.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:33 PM   #78
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This is extremely important. I would guess that this imaginary concern prevents almost everyone from seriously considering the RV life. The Macerator system in our Roadtrek is so easy peasy that one doesn't need to wear gloves and would not even have to wash your hands afterwards except for the road dust on the hose. (You don't have to wear googles, rubber suit or a gas mask either.)

I normally wear flip flops...no gloves etc...and drink a coffee while dumping the tanks. I wish to upgrade to low cut rubber boots soon though.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:18 PM   #79
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I love this thread. Thanks for all the info. I'll post a picture of what I eventually buy. I think I will rent a small RV first and check out the RV parks.

I have just under 3 retire until I can retire so it's time to start really thinking about this.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:39 PM   #80
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do you need advance reservations?
If it is a popular park in a busy area, you might need reservations - especially if you want a particular spot.

But you can get away with making very few reservations. And that is how we have preferred to travel - so that we are not tied to a specific schedule but can stay longer or change our plans based on how things are going.

In five years of fulltiming, I probably made less than half a dozen reservations PER YEAR - and we moved a lot most of the time. Reservations were usually for a park where I had been before and knew the best spots, or a particularly busy period at a top rated park, or we planned an extended stay (more than a week).

It's not fun to make an extended reservation at a park and get there and really not like the park at all. We preferred not to commit ourselves.

Of course, we usually call a park the day we plan to arrive, or perhaps the day before, just to make sure there is availability. It's been very, very rare that we haven't gotten what we wanted even without reservations.

Audrey
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