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Does anyone do short RV trips?
Old 09-06-2016, 09:54 PM   #1
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Does anyone do short RV trips?

DW and I have been batting around the idea of getting an RV to make our snow birding trips between FL and MD more pleasant/less intense. We think it would make travelling with the dogs easier, and if it took a week or more to get there, no problem. As it is now, we blast down there in 2 days, since finding a decent hotel that accepts dogs is difficult. And if we find one it tends to be full of other people and their dogs. Who wants that?

So anyway, we're thinking a class C, maybe 25-30'. But if we get one we don't want to just use it twice a year, so we'll do some other trips too, sightseeing and visiting far flung friends and family. Tonight DW mentioned that it would be fun to jump in and do an overnighter to Assateague or the Skyline Drive or something like that. But I don't think I've ever heard of anyone doing a short trip like that in a RV. I guess I'm assuming the set up and tear down is a big enough pain that most people don't do it for less than a week or so. At least a long weekend.

I'm not a member of any RV forums (yet), but I know there are a lot of RV'ers here. Do any of y'all use it for a one or two night camping trip? Or is my impression of the work involved in getting ready and then packing it away accurate. I'm actually hoping I'm wrong on this one. It would be cool to just get an itch to go somewhere and be able to be on the road in an hour or two, then come back and close her up in another hour or so. I await the combined wisdom of the experts. Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:00 PM   #2
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I don't have an RV, but if you are using it for making the drive to a second home in FL easier, then perhaps a small RV would be fine, and easier to hop in a go.

I've considered an RV, but one issue is where do you store it when not driving it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:34 PM   #3
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We use a pickup camper 11.5 feet long and other than loading it on the truck not a problem. We camp 20 miles from his house on a lake for the weekend sometimes. BFFs have 4 dogs and a trailer. They bought the cutest little fence for the dogs. As high as the bottom of the camper along the camper then higher panels for the outside. So they fence off from the camper to past the firepit so the dogs don't need leashes. Takes about 15 minutes to set up camps with hookups and fencing. We usually share the campfire since the dogs don't like them to leave them alone. Nice even for a single night but better for 2-3 nights.
Traveling with a pickup camper is super easy even towing a boat. You can stop anywhere like a rest area or Walmart parking lot and live up to 3 days without hookups. We like to camp on old logging roads next to rivers or creeks. To stop for lunch just means pulling down the stairs and opening the frig. Very relaxing way to travel.
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:41 AM   #4
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People in RV's often make short trips. The setup in a Class C can be as short as 5 minutes if you're camping in a place with hookups. And with generators, they're plenty self sufficient.

I've got a fifth wheel, and it's more of a park it and stay kind'a proposition. Those traveling often from point A to point B do better with the Class A or Class C.

Since you're coming out of MD, you'll find VA to have really beautiful campgrounds--especially over in the Shenandoah Valley and south of there.
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:52 AM   #5
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We have a large fifth wheel RV and do go on long weekend trips as well as snowbirding. Setup and take down takes about 15 minutes and we share the chores. We enjoy the RV life style and travel.

You can rent a class C to try out the experience before you decide to purchase.
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:58 AM   #6
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We also have a large fifth wheel. We prefer to stay in one place for at least 4 or 5 days but know plenty of friends who are ok with shorter stays. We've had this for about a year and I can't imagine going back to hotel travel now! My inlaws travel in their Class A from Michigan to Florida every winter and tow their small car behind. I would just make sure whatever you get can tow a vehicle if you need one down in FL.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:39 AM   #7
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Another 5th wheel owner here. We're currently on a three week trip in it and use it for varying lengths, but rarely for less than 2-3 nights at a time. DW is a stickler for cleanliness and it does take some pre-trip effort to thoroughly clean the RV prior to use. That's why for us the effort isn't worth it for only an overnight stay.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:40 AM   #8
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We are planning to use an RV for transitioning from winter to summer abodes. Fortunately we have a place to park it at both places. We also plan to go on several trips mostly long weekends to weeks at a time. We like doing it and we have dogs so we are in control of living arrangements (as compared to renting)

We are probably going to do a smaller class A (we have a 31' travel trailer now). BIL bought a super C, while they mostly like it they hate the ride. Make sure to drive many options.

BTW, rv.net is a good resource.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:16 AM   #9
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Jack asked my question, do you have a place to park it at your snowbirding destination, as this can be a big issue.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:03 AM   #10
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I have owned my class A rv for over a year and am right now in the 2nd week of a 10 week trip.

You should consider the fixed costs of RV ownership. There is the purchase price and the sales tax. Annually, you will have insurance and licensing costs.

If you were to take 7 - 2 day trips a year, that would mean the RV is sitting in storage for 50 weeks each year. When I was shopping for an RV, I specifically avoided RVs that sat a lot. A nicely used RV is in better mechanical shape than storage queen.

In addition to physical depreciation, RVs have substantial financial depreciation. They also have maintenance requirements that are time based (annually).

A 30ft class C is big enough that once you get to your destination, you will want to park it and use some other vehicle to tour the area. Its not so simple to drive that size of an RV over to the local microbrew or restaurant. So, you will need to be setup to tow something.

Given the amount of planned usage, you will probably purchase a used RV. You could end up spending more time with maintenance and repairs that actual usage. It is another car and another home.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:14 AM   #11
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This isn't a thread about whether we should buy an RV or not, or what kind. I'm aware of all the issues regarding cost, maintenance, storage, toads, and what all. Those are issues we're working on in our research and discussions. We'll definitely rent and try multiple options, and I've been reading RV.net although I haven't joined yet. Mostly I was interested in the viability of short trips and how much is involved in getting set up and shut down for a trip.

It sounds like if we're going someplace with hookups it's no big deal, but if we're boondocking there might be enough more involved to make an overnighter unlikely. That's good information, and I'd appreciate hearing more opinions on that. If we do go this way I definitely want to use the RV a lot, and short trips will make that easier to do. But we also plan to do some longer trips, as well as 3-4 day trips to places like the Keys or the mountains. I'm a VA boy even though we're in MD now, and I love camping in those mountains.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:30 AM   #12
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I like to do Monday to Thursday, short camping trips within a few hundred miles. Campgrounds are much less crowded and it gives me time to thoroughly explore the hiking trails and paddle the waterways (if present) of a given park. I'm able to store my small trailer behind my house, so it is not a major production to just hook up and go.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I like to do Monday to Thursday, short camping trips within a few hundred miles. Campgrounds are much less crowded and it gives me time to thoroughly explore the hiking trails and paddle the waterways (if present) of a given park. I'm able to store my small trailer behind my house, so it is not a major production to just hook up and go.
That's a great point on during the week. To the short trips, Even now with the TT, all we have to do is pack fridge, dogs food and some cloths. Can be ready in an hour. More of a pain on the way back to dump the tanks and such.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harley View Post
Mostly I was interested in the viability of short trips and how much is involved in getting set up and shut down for a trip.
To that specific question, my experience is in the neighborhood of 30 - 45 minutes to set up (I don't like to rush) and up to an hour or so to depart - less if we have full hookups and don't have to stop on the way out of the park to dump the tanks.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:55 AM   #15
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We bought a 21ft travel trailer this year and have done 2-3 two nighters. We have 2 dogs also. It has worked out very well for us, lots of flexibility. Since we like State/National parks better than (pools, screaming kids and golf carts) private RV parks, we have gotten pretty good at making electric and water last 2 nights off grid.

As for keeping it simple, we have stocked the trailer with RV only stuff to minimize what we need to bring/put in on each trip. Dishes, cooking utensils, cleaners, and even clothes stay in the RV (well yes we wash them). Goal is to be able to bring a backpack from the house and go.

Next year, post retire, I am going to do some longer solo trips and will be mix of boondocking/parks, and private parks.

If you are inclined try RV'ing, either rent or get into something small/used and limit your investment at first.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:56 AM   #16
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We had a small Class C RV when the kids were young. We used it all the time for short trips. We could park it anywhere so we would pack a picnic lunch and drive to the puget sound or a lake for the day, the weekend, or even a few hours.

The best part was no packing or preparation was needed except maybe a backpack of clothes and some food. Board games, kitchen stuff, pillows and blankets were already there.

In Washington there are dump stations at the freeway rest stops for free so that was easy.

The issue we had is this was an older RV (bought from our grandparents) and broke down frequently. We spent one night waiting for the parts store to open to replace an alternator and another weekend the gas tank started to leak.

We will definitely get another RV in retirement when we have the money for a newer model.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:20 AM   #17
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We do primarily short trips (<200 miles) for various reasons, mostly Mon-Thurs or Tues-Fri (or even just 2 nights sometimes) for the same reasons travelover mentioned. We have a 26ft. Class C. Here's what it takes for us to make such a trip (note: does not include grocery shopping and menu planning as I'd have to do that at home anyway):
- Day before: pick up RV from storage lot (~30 minutes). Check tires and if they need air, run over to Discount Tire (5 minutes) for free air. Plug in (20 amp regular house circuit is fine as long as you don't run the A/C or heat) to cool down the fridge/freezer. Load clothes and non-perishable food (~30 minutes). Add H2O to tank if needed. (~10 minutes)
- Day of: load fridge/freezer and last minute items. Unplug (very important!). Final walk around and hit the road.
- Set up: Hook up water and electricity, put out step and doormat and chairs (10 minutes). If site is not level, deploy leveling jacks (10 minutes). Settle the inside (sunshades, curtains, etc.) (5 minutes). Open beer (<1 minute).
- Prepping to leave: Put everything away inside to be ready to travel (~15 minutes). Unhook H2O and put away everything from outside except electrical cord (10 minutes). Unhook electric, final walk around, drive to dump station. Dump tanks and trash (10-15 minutes). Hit the road.
- At home: Unload fridge/freezer and any opened non-perishable food containers. Unload dirty laundry, clothes/shoes/personal items. Clean sinks, stove, fridge, and counters. Sweep & mop floor. Take note of any supplies that need to be restocked for next trip [we keep a laundry basket in the guest room to accumulate them until the next trip, along with the clean towels, etc., that need to go back in]. (~1 hour). Drive RV back to storage lot (30 minutes).

Note: Unlike REWahoo's DW, I am not a stickler for cleanliness. For example, we only change the sheets after every 2 or 3 short trips. Also I wipe down the bathroom after I shower so that's not part of the packing up. Finally, as DH is disabled, I do everything solo which means it takes longer than if you have two folks sharing the duties.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
We do primarily short trips (<200 miles) for various reasons, mostly Mon-Thurs or Tues-Fri (or even just 2 nights sometimes) for the same reasons travelover mentioned. We have a 26ft. Class C. Here's what it takes for us to make such a trip (note: does not include grocery shopping and menu planning as I'd have to do that at home anyway):
- Day before: pick up RV from storage lot (~30 minutes). Check tires and if they need air, run over to Discount Tire (5 minutes) for free air. Plug in (20 amp regular house circuit is fine as long as you don't run the A/C or heat) to cool down the fridge/freezer. Load clothes and non-perishable food (~30 minutes). Add H2O to tank if needed. (~10 minutes)
- Day of: load fridge/freezer and last minute items. Unplug (very important!). Final walk around and hit the road.
- Set up: Hook up water and electricity, put out step and doormat and chairs (10 minutes). If site is not level, deploy leveling jacks (10 minutes). Settle the inside (sunshades, curtains, etc.) (5 minutes). Open beer (<1 minute).
- Prepping to leave: Put everything away inside to be ready to travel (~15 minutes). Unhook H2O and put away everything from outside except electrical cord (10 minutes). Unhook electric, final walk around, drive to dump station. Dump tanks and trash (10-15 minutes). Hit the road.
- At home: Unload fridge/freezer and any opened non-perishable food containers. Unload dirty laundry, clothes/shoes/personal items. Clean sinks, stove, fridge, and counters. Sweep & mop floor. Take note of any supplies that need to be restocked for next trip [we keep a laundry basket in the guest room to accumulate them until the next trip, along with the clean towels, etc., that need to go back in]. (~1 hour). Drive RV back to storage lot (30 minutes).

Note: Unlike REWahoo's DW, I am not a stickler for cleanliness. For example, we only change the sheets after every 2 or 3 short trips. Also I wipe down the bathroom after I shower so that's not part of the packing up. Finally, as DH is disabled, I do everything solo which means it takes longer than if you have two folks sharing the duties.

Hope this helps!
That's a good summary, not too far off from with at Travel trailer either. Yes, you do have to go "on power" the day before to cool the fridge. We are fortunate to be able to store ours at home.

We also have an "RV List" with everything that we might need to bring and stuff that needs to get done (Fill H20, gas truck, plug in fridge, etc.). On the list, we check off what is already in the trailer (either already in there or after we put it in). If we are not taking it, we cross it off the list (like kayaks or something we won't be using).

And setup once on site.... level, plug in, carpet down, awning out and cold beer in hand in 10 mins!!!
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:23 PM   #19
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Short trip camping is only complicated if you make it complicated.

While we are pop-up campers, there are a lot of steps you can take to keep it simple by focusing on basics and minimize the frills. When we pull into campsite for one night, we don't unpack more than a couple of lawn chairs. The camper already has dishes and cooking utensils and microwave and cleaning supplies. We just open the door, slide in duffle bags for clothes, a couple sleeping bags, load cooler and crate of food in tow vehicle, 5 gal jug of water, and we're gone. We don't load the fridge until we get to camp (and may not even use it at all) and avoid storing food in camper (prefer not to have critters visiting).

The more you try to duplicate "home" the more work your making for yourself.

When boys were young we did a lot of weekend camping. We've used it as a mobile hotel room traveling from PA to Florida, Maine, Minnesota, and Wyoming. Once parked it at a county park in VA only 9 miles to metro and spend a week visiting DC. We don't spend much time hanging around the camper doing chores or cooking......I can do that at home. We're out on trails or exploring the natural beauty or history of the area we are visiting. We're out for the adventure, not hanging around a campsite.

N.B. Wife and I come from a backpacking background and think along the lines an RV is a no frills tent on wheels instead of mini-version of home. And at 66, wish I could get out backpacking more often...maybe when the youngest is off to college.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:48 PM   #20
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Very good info, especially that breakdown by MBAustin. I can definitely see myself driving off with the extension cord plugged in. It sounds to me like getting ready to go, doing the traveling (even a short 2 hour trip) and clean up afterwards means at least a two night trip, just to have some time to actually relax. That's what I figured, although it doesn't sound quite as complicated as I was making it. I appreciate the input.
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