New Adventure

Hi all

The wife and I are Australians, will be heading to the US of A in May and are now starting to arrange our trip around the USA. We will be starting in Miami (after a Bahamas cruise) and plan to rent an RV, travel to New orleans, then memphis, Nashville, Washington DC, Gettysburg, across to Yellowstone, down to Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon, on to Las Vegas and finish in Los Angeles.

I am licenced to drive heavy vehicles - rigid not articulated, so will be looking for a self-contained unit.


What are the better choices of RV
How long can I expect each leg to take us, not including the rubbernecking while we are there, but including meals stops and maybe a peek or two at the sceneery (I am a photographer so a peek can mean anything from 5 minutes to an hour).
Any pitfalls I need to REALLY aware of.
Best travel guide to take (I just read about the Next Exit book).
Best road map to use.
Will wee do it in 4 weeks.
How many shells will I need for my 44 Magnum, 12 gauge d-barrelled S&W and AK47 (with RPG launcher attachment) - just kidding guys.

Can't wait for the respones, this will be fun.... :)
Re: New Adventure

The best RV to rent is the size that fits your needs, wants and desires. If you go too big you will need a tow car or you can rent cars as you go. For example, in Yellowstone a car is very convenient although they have tour buses. You won't need a car to see Washington if you stay at Cherry Hill RV Park just north of the city in Maryland, as the tour buses and public transportation come right to the park.
Any good US Road Atlas should suffice, truck stops, for fuel, have a good assortment. The best travel guide is talking with fellow campers as you stay along the road. There are a couple campground directories you can buy. Trailer Life or Woodhalls. I prefer Trailer Life. Many campgrounds sell them.
As far as how long each leg? 4 weeks may not be enough, as you are talking 5-6 thousand miles and maybe more. That all depends upon your interests, in different areas.
A week in Washington DC may not be enough, it all depends upon your levels of interest in US politics and history. The Smithsonian Institutes are very interesting and time consuming. You probably can't get close to the White House as you need a security check to take a tour. Do not know how they handle non US citizens. A day in Memphis is all I can take, Nashville is 2-3 days I guess, New Orleans can be several days it depends upon the time of year and how drawn into the party life ya get, Yellowstone is a good week , cause you don't see all the animals in one day, plus it's a photographers dream. You might not see all them in a week, it took us 2, week long trips before we saw a Grizzly on our last day. Las Vegas may take you a while to recoup your loses at the gaming tables. While in Las Vegas you should drive over to Hoover Dam.,and "Pilgrim if ya don't stay 3-4 days in Monument Valley I may have to shoot ya" More great photo opportunities and a car is a plus there. The big delays will be as you travel and watch the scenery change so dramatically from East to West you will be stopping a lot for pictures.

Noticed you left off the Grand Canyon, if you are at Monument Valley headed for Las Vegas you have to go real close to the Canyon. Would hate to have a photographer miss that place.

Hopefully others here will add or subtract things I have told you. You will have a great time. Folks here will love ya cause y'all talk funny to us and they will want to talk with you.
Stay safe and drive slowly. Welcome to America.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: New Adventure

Hey Jumbuck, welcome to the forum. Class C motorhomes are the most prevalent RV available to rent. Most of them are 24 to 30 feet. They are all self contained

I would estimate that to see it all you will really need at least 6 weeks minimum:
You will need 2 weeks to do New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville and over to Washington, DC. Washington, DC and Gettysburg are worth at least 1 week. From there to Yellowstone and seeing all between (Mount Rushmore) will take another week. Yellowstone and surrounding area will take at least a week to do it justice. Plan on another week to see everything between Yellowstone and Las Vegas. Then plan on at least 1 more week to see Las Vegas and travel to Los Angels. Did I say plan on 8 weeks to see and take it all in. :laugh:


Senior Member
Re: New Adventure

I agree that it'll take longer than four weeks from East to West and yet spend enough time at your planned stops. Along the way, your plans may take a detour and then add or subtract some days. Lastly, you'll have to keep reloading as you move west. :laugh: :laugh:
Re: New Adventure

Hi Jumbuck, 4 weeks is virtually impossible to do all that you have in mind. We bought a motorhome for a 12 month trip and still need to go back and see the other half of the country. It may be an idea to leave out the northern half and head west across the Gulf of Mexico from Miami and pick up New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville etc and spend as much time as possible in Arizona and Nevada for some absolutely breathtaking scenery. While there we met another Aussie couple and family who had rented a Class C to do their 1 month trip around the west and it cost them $5000 for that time as they also had to rent the "bedding" package plus the "kitchen" package etc as they could not take much in a suitcase. So, they had to pack up each morning to get out to see the sights and set up again at night. Or spend more (time and money) on hire cars to get around. That adds up to at least $170 per day plus fuel. Then you have the cost of the RV Parks at $25-40 per day! For considerably less than that you could rent a comfortable car or SUV and stay at reasonable Motels. Many along the way can be had at only $39 per day. This will leave a lot more time and flexibility to see and experience as much as possible. We had 4 days at Yellowstone and needed every full day to get around everywhere and even then I had to drag "she who must be obeyed" away from the park to get on with the rest of the trip. Just an opinion and, whichever way you go, have a wonderful time. you'll love it.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: New Adventure

Hey aussie Kieth, good post and info. If you didn't get to Southern Utah you need to take it in next time you come. 5 Nat'l Parks that are spectacular. :)


Senior Member
Re: New Adventure

AS much as I like RVing there is a point at which it is just better to do the car RV thing. We will be in AU NZ starting Feb 17 and had thought of the RV there but by time rent on the RV, RV parks, making up the RV every morning to start the travels it just made better $$$$$ sense and time to just rent and do the car thing. We have a couple stays in one place long enough to get a condo and the rest in B&B's and motels and lodges. We will still be doing tours but from the nights stay.
For here I would think you could include a lot more $$$$ activities and come out cheaper with the motels and B&B's here plus many of the motels have a breakfast included which also saves $$$$$. If you were touring a more extended time then I would say an RV might be better.

Oh and Welcome!!

Re: New Adventure

Great feedback, thanks folks. I knew 4 weeks was a big ask, especially being a photographer, and the original intention was 2 weeks in Floida then 4 weeks in Canada doing the Cruise/Train thing. We couldn't get the tours we wanted so dropped out of that one.
So, across the bottom of the US it was, but then the cheese-n-kisses (missus) or as keith puts it, 'she-who-must-be-obeyed' wanted to see DC and thought Gettysburg would be good too, then she added Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone. I HAVE to see Antelope Canyon and Monumet Valley, the rest are bonuses. We 'saw' Grand Canyon about 30 years ago and I doubt it has changed much (at least not in the spot we were dragged to).

I thought about a self-contained mobile home (C-class) for the convenience, rather than bussing/car-ing/motels and living out of suitcases. Estimating the cost of transport (road or air) and accomodation, the RV seemed like a good alternative, plus you get the personal conveneince of going where/when you please.

I have since downloaded a stack of pages with distances, directions and maps so will now be calculating the 'real' distances and time between ports and see how we go from there.

Thanks heaps.
Re: New Adventure

Ron, I have found that Google Maps are a great way to measure road distances and routes (next to actually using a GPS) for route planning. I have also found the routes plotted there to be accurate.
Re: New Adventure

Jumbuck, hopefully the posts were of some help to you and if you need any more individual assistance just pop a private message in my "inbox" on this site and would be very happy to help out wherever possible. Budget do one-way car rentals at no extra charge and will include a sat-nav for an extra $10 per day (which can prove to be a marriage saver).
DL Rupper, thanks for that. We actually spent some months travelling from Arizona through Utah and Idaho to Montana and were overwhelmed by it all.
And Len, we'd be very happy to offer you a welcome in Aus if your trip takes you near Sydney. we are about 50 miles north of the city and more than happy to repay some of the great hospitality that we enjoyed in the USA last year. We'll be around until 20th March when we head back to Texas for a couple of months to visit our daughter in San Antonio. While I'm here, does anyone know of any "Snake roundups" that may be on in Texas at that time. We've heard a little about them and would love to see it first hand.
Re: New Adventure

Keith, there isn't a better place to find a snake than San Antone, Houston, or Dallas. ;)

If you want a GOOD snake you might try the Sweetwater roundup.

This site ( will give you a schedule to go by, but you better call someone beforeyou go because anywhere in Texas is a long drive.

I would say that the one in Freer is around your requested time. There aren't many places in Texas with more rattlesnakes than Freer. It isn't that far from San Antone, either.

An old cowboy used to tell me to always hunt rattlesnakes with two other people, cause the first one will stir one up, the second one will make him mad, and the third one gets bit! :laugh:
Re: New Adventure

I have friends in Australia who came here a few years ago. One of the things they wanted to see was a skunk. I drove down the road t'ill we found one on the side and I let them out and drove away. Came back 15 minutes later, they had enough of skunks.
Apparently those varmits don't habitat in Aussie land.
True story.


Senior Member
Re: New Adventure

aussie Keith

Thanks for the invite, but we don't get to the Sydney area until the last week of March. A friend, school teacher from just a few miles north of you will be meeting us in NZ late Feb and doing a week with us there. And then we will spend a couple days with her as we drive the coast from Cairns to Sydney for our flight home. Also have a friend in Melbourne and then another half way between Cairns and Sydney we will be spending time with. We Were thinking of the RV there but decided between driving on the wrong side of the road and the packing up each day the car would suit us much better. Plus many times we travel until after dark and finding the motor inn would be easier than a camp ground and then the setting camp after dark.

Re: New Adventure

I have been reading a bit about 'packing up each day' before a move. I would assume that unless you are a more-than-a-little-bit-messy, surely this is a quick-n-easy task.

Actually, the more I read and think about the job in front of us, it will a daunting task. But comparing the total costs of renting and running a respectable-sized RV to that of motels/hotel rooms, cabs to-n-from everywhere, the RV comes up pretty good. Then there's the almost constant driving, setting-up, packing-up at a time that best suits you, compared with the very early starts to catch planes so you get to somewhere near (but generally not) your destination and before midday, the 'no other choices because you need to pre-book accomodations', the 'no chance to change your mind or direction midstream', only rare opportunities to catch sunrise pics (only 2nd best to sunset pics), plus the big one - no oppportunity to 'stop and smell the skunks' or the roses.

RV is the way, as I see it and the cost is about equal to planes and hotels.

btw - I live in the outer-sth/east of Melb, so if you are dropping by, send me an email and maybe I can give you some hints about what to see and where the good afternoon tea places are....
Re: New Adventure

Afternoon tea? Did he say tea? :clown:

Ron, you just described why most of us buy RVs.

Ya know, when I used to commute to work every day, both ways, I was always thinking that those folks driving in with me were working on the other side of town, and those folks working on this side of town were driving in from their homes on the other side of town. Just seemed like it would be a whole lot better if we just swapped jobs! :eek:

I'm sure it seems like that with vacations at times. I'm still not through looking around here, but when I get through I'm going to "swap homes" with one of you "down under" folks. It's gonna be a whole lot better.
RE: New Adventure

Here are some suggestions, from my experiences:
1. Get a copy of the latest book, Trailer Life RV Parks, Campgrounds and Services Directory and let it be your guide. Although many try overnight “boondocking” in super center parking lots, you will need to dump your holding tanks about every other day (and take on fresh water) usually at an RV Park (though some larger truck-stops and interstate rest areas have dump stations)
2. I would plan on 4 hours driving (200-250 miles) per day for travel days. This will give you plenty of time to stop along the way and not tire you out (using multiple drivers might extend this time)
3. Since you won't be pulling a car behind you, and even class Cs can be difficult to sightsee in, I suggest you consider Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Their service includes pick-up and delivery back to most RV parks. A one or two day rental will give you the flexibility to sightsee.
4. For Washington DC I recommend you camp in Virginia near the end of the METRA computer line. Using the METRA (subway) is a cheap and easy way to see the sights without the hassle of parking.
5. If possible I would also recommend a GPS unit to assist in navigation.
6. Other campers should be VERY helpful along the way with suggestions so don’t be afraid to ask.
Good luck on your trip, and if you make it to Gettysburg the end of June 2008, maybe we will meet.

Re: New Adventure

Jumbuck, I wasn't suggesting you use planes and cabs to get around - no way to see the country. But a rental car, one way from Miami to LA and see the sights on the way. Being retired now I make a hobby of saving money wherever possible as long as it does not lessen the good experiences. However, whichever way you go I wish you all the best and am sure you will love every minute. If in the RV it would be worth joining Good Sam Club before you go and at least get a discount in the RV parks when you use them. mapquest is a good website to check routes, especially if you want to stay off the main highways. Take a laptop if you have one to get all the information you need off the web as you travel. Wifi is almost always available. Good luck.