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Wulaw Horn

My families Great American Adventure

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There are some posters here who took an RV to the Rose Bowl. It didn’t go great. 
 

Leave a few days for a break down or two. 

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Sure why not?  Document it here!

A couple questions, what do you know about RVs, and what are you getting for $5,000?  Please understand I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't do it-- I bought a vintage Airstream for $3,000 and restored it myself and camped in it with my family for 10 years.  Just trying to ascertain how much you know about it?  

I have no input on the homeschooling.

For itinerary, just go where you want to go.  But be mindful that over the next 6-12 months, different locations will be likely be having flare-ups with differing governmental responses.  Campgrounds and RV parks might get shut down again.  Or they might be held well below capacity.  Plan ahead and have backup plans too.

Sounds like fun, you should do it.

 

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I give the “no fast food” about 2 days ...otherwise looks like trip to remember for a lifetime...best kind of trip is having no where to be except where you want to be..

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Posted (edited)

I know nothing. I’ve been looking non Craig’s list for about 12 minutes time now and the $5000 price point seems to get you something that you tow- at about 23-30 feet, with working electricity and water power that’s 15-20 years old. Pretty no frills. 

Point taken on the flare ups and different state rules for RV parks. I imagine we will have to play it by ear and be willing to modify going from place to place at least 2 or 3 times. Saved west coast for last because figure by fall they will be opened. And milder weather. 

What can you tell me about RV’s. I don’t want anything particularly nice as my kids are savages. But I want functional and gonna work, obviously. 

I’ve got a stock 2018 F150. That shouldn’t have any problem pulling a 7000 pound rv- should it? 

Edited by Wulaw Horn

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Just now, Teddyballgame said:

I give the “no fast food” about 2 days ...otherwise looks like trip to remember for a lifetime...best kind of trip is having no where to be except where you want to be..

Yeah- that will be hard. I’d like to think we can make it at least 2 weeks. 

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If you can make it work, I'd hit every national park there is. This seems like a pipedream but if you can swing it, have at it. Would be fun to read as you go along. 

How are you going to get consistent internet to do your job remotely? 

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If you do Vegas —> Grand Canyon I’d recommend (especially at that time of year) aiming for the North Rim and 1000% hitting Zion if you haven’t. I’ve been to Zion 4 times and I’m still not done with it.

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14 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

I know nothing. I’ve been looking non Craig’s list for about 12 minutes time now and the $5000 price point seems to get you something that you tow- at about 23-30 feet, with working electricity and water power that’s 15-20 years old. Pretty no frills. 

Point taken on the flare ups and different state rules for RV parks. I imagine we will have to play it by ear and be willing to modify going from place to place at least 2 or 3 times. Saved west coast for last because figure by fall they will be opened. And milder weather. 

What can you tell me about RV’s. I don’t want anything particularly nice as my kids are savages. But I want functional and gonna work, obviously. 

I’ve got a stock 2018 F150. That shouldn’t have any problem pulling a 7000 pound rv- should it? 

Depends on how your F150 is setup.  7K dry weight could end up closer to 8-8.5K fully loaded with gear and with full propane tanks.  If you're carrying any water, then that adds even more.  But you should be able to find something that will work for you.  I can tell you lots about RVs, but also there's an RV thread here:

And a pickup truck thread here: 

And I have no idea why that pickup thread picture is upside down.  Maybe Bevo VIII took lessons from Amrybrat or something.

 

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10 minutes ago, utee94 said:

Depends on how your F150 is setup.  7K dry weight could end up closer to 8-8.5K fully loaded with gear and with full propane tanks.  If you're carrying any water, then that adds even more.  But you should be able to find something that will work for you.  I can tell you lots about RVs, but also there's an RV thread here:

And a pickup truck thread here: 

And I have no idea why that pickup thread picture is upside down.  Maybe Bevo VIII took lessons from Amrybrat or something.

 

The 7k was fully loaded. Dry weight of 5500. Thanks for the pointing to Rv thread. 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

The 7k was fully loaded. Dry weight of 5500. Thanks for the pointing to Rv thread. 

Yeah sure, post up your thoughts there and you can likely get all sorts of opinions chiming in.  This is the surl after all. ;)

If you've got some links to ones you're considering I'd be happy to take a look and let you know what I think.

People often overlook the running gear.  Putting that many miles on a trailer that's already been well-used, you're probably going to need to spend some money there first and foremost.  Tires on RVs typically dry rot out before they wear out, any tire older than 5 years is pretty much done even if it only has a handful of miles on it.  Axles, bearings, etc.  That's where to focus first.  Then you can think about your amenities. 

Edited by utee94

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, utee94 said:

Yeah sure, post up your thoughts there and you can likely get all sorts of opinions chiming in.  This is the surl after all. ;)

If you've got some links to ones you're considering I'd be happy to take a look and let you know what I think.

People often overlook the running gear.  Putting that many miles on a trailer that's already been well-used, you're probably going to need to spend some money there first and foremost.  Tires on RVs typically dry rot out before they wear out, any tire older than 5 years is pretty much done even if it only has a handful of miles on it.  Axles, bearings, etc.  That's where to focus first.  Then you can think about your amenities. 

Thanks. 

So, I’m a first class idiot about all things mechanical and have never pulled anything bigger than a trailer with a couple jet skis on them. What should I do to actually educate myself (other than read the RV thread which so far is above my pay grade) before I turn this thing into a fiasco?  

Edited by Wulaw Horn

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First thing is you need to be somewhere with hookups if you are staying a week with a family. My wife and I can fill they gray tank which is 41 gallons in a 3 day weekend. The black tank has plenty of capacity.

Pretty much cooking/cleaning and showers for a family will be a lot with out sewer hookups

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11 minutes ago, LebongJames said:

Watch YouTube videos. Make sure truck has brake controller and get an anti sway hitch.

Yup, get a good hitching system with antisway and weight distribution.  And you'll absolutely need a brake controller, your RV trailer will have electric brakes and the output from the brake controller signals them when, and how hard, to brake.  Unless your truck had a max towing package or heavy payload package, then it probably does not have an integrated brake controller.  But it most likely has a pigtail for an after-market controller somewhere onboard.

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16 minutes ago, LebongJames said:

First thing is you need to be somewhere with hookups if you are staying a week with a family. My wife and I can fill they gray tank which is 41 gallons in a 3 day weekend. The black tank has plenty of capacity.

Pretty much cooking/cleaning and showers for a family will be a lot with out sewer hookups

That was the plan, hook ups everywhere. Don’t need to get too adventurous. 

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17 minutes ago, workswithseed said:

It'd be cool if you came down i5 to meet up in Portland, but taking 101 is a way cooler drive on the west coast.

I will hit you up sometime in October and maybe we can break bread somewhere. 

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15 minutes ago, LebongJames said:

First thing is you need to be somewhere with hookups if you are staying a week with a family. My wife and I can fill they gray tank which is 41 gallons in a 3 day weekend. The black tank has plenty of capacity.

Pretty much cooking/cleaning and showers for a family will be a lot with out sewer hookups

It's certainly easier with full 3-point hookups including sewer.  But lots of the national parks and state parks don't have sewer connections.  You can always dump to the portable "blue boy" and tote that over to the dump station.  It's a pain but if it means staying in a beautiful national park over a concrete-and-asphalt RV park, I'm generally willing to do it.  

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1 hour ago, mdmost said:

If you can make it work, I'd hit every national park there is. This seems like a pipedream but if you can swing it, have at it. Would be fun to read as you go along. 

How are you going to get consistent internet to do your job remotely? 

If I have iPhone reception I’m working. I don’t need anything but my phone and a notepad to keep notes on. Will get a laptop bc it’s easier for me to do stuff myself, but I do have people who can handle anything I need done. A week without internet would be a pita. A week without cell reception is a non starter. I figure anywhere with hook ups is likely to have cell reception. 

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1 hour ago, Hank_Hill said:

If you do Vegas —> Grand Canyon I’d recommend (especially at that time of year) aiming for the North Rim and 1000% hitting Zion if you haven’t. I’ve been to Zion 4 times and I’m still not done with it.

Been to Zion once when I was about 10 years old. You are right, absolutely needs to be on the list. Thanks 

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4 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

That was the plan, hook ups everywhere. Don’t need to get too adventurous. 

If you do this for a year or something, then you'll get plenty adventurous.  But sure, start off slow and easy.

As far as general RV knowledge, I learned most of what I know on an Airstream specific forum.  It had details on all kinds of restoration projects that were specific to my era of vintage Airstreams, but also tons of general RV topics.  I'm certain there are general RV forums out there, it's a friendly and open community for the most part, but since I was also focused on restoration, I pretty much just stuck to the AirForums.

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48 minutes ago, utee94 said:

Yeah sure, post up your thoughts there and you can likely get all sorts of opinions chiming in.  This is the surl after all. ;)

If you've got some links to ones you're considering I'd be happy to take a look and let you know what I think.

People often overlook the running gear.  Putting that many miles on a trailer that's already been well-used, you're probably going to need to spend some money there first and foremost.  Tires on RVs typically dry rot out before they wear out, any tire older than 5 years is pretty much done even if it only has a handful of miles on it.  Axles, bearings, etc.  That's where to focus first.  Then you can think about your amenities. 

How about this one?

https://houston.craigslist.org/rvs/d/houston-30-ft-alumalite-holiday-rambler/7128041588.html

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Incredulity said:

I am 100% no sarcasm rooting for you.

that said, 

disgonabegood.gif

Im really excited about the idea of this. I hadn’t considered any of the execution and now am borderline terrified I will mess up the mechanical part of it. 

 

Edited by Wulaw Horn

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1 minute ago, Wulaw Horn said:

Im really excited about the idea of this. I hadn’t considered any of the execution and now am borderline terrified I will mess up the mechanical part of it. 

 

Dead serious, I am jealous.  Would love to have the freedom to attempt that.

Much respect for getting even this far.  Give it hell.

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5 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

Looks pretty clean for a 30 year old trailer.  You'll have to decide if the bed situation is going to work for you and your family. Your smallest will likely fit on the dinette convertible bed just fine.  I will say that in close quarters with smaller kids around, "adult time" can be more difficult to come by.  Getting the kids out and about on their own for a bit is beneficial to all. :)

On a trailer that old, I'd check for floor rot.  From the inside push your toe around the floor under the door, all windows, and everywhere in the bathroom you can.  That's where leaks occur.  If there's no bellypan underneath then you can do a visual check from below as well.  Floor rot's not necessarily the end of the world, it could still be campable, but eventually it gets to the point where replacement is mandatory, and that is neither cheap nor easy.  I did it for my Airstream, by myself, once upon a time! ;)

Make sure the refrigerator works, it's likely a 2-way which means it will run on propane or 120VAC.  It might be a 3-way which means it would run on 12VDC as well.

Check the A/C and make sure it's blowing cold.  No real way to test the furnace until it actually does get cold.

Test the oven and microwave if you plan to use them.

All interior lights, it should have a 12V system that will run off the battery when it's not plugged in to 120VAC.

Also just look at the exterior for cracks or wear and tear that seems to be too bad.  It's a 30 year old trailer, it won't be perfect, but you should also not see daylight through random holes, know what I mean? :)

 

 

 

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Why don't you do a trial run for a couple of weeks with an RV rental and see how you and your family like it before committing the rest of the year to something this ambitious. 

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I don’t know how comfortable I am with a regard that can’t use “families” and “family’s” correctly driving his family around our great country indoctrinating his children with shitty grammar.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Wulaw Horn said:

I’ve got a stock 2018 F150. That shouldn’t have any problem pulling a 7000 pound rv- should it? 

HealthyIncompatibleCassowary-small.gif

1/2 ton truck pulling a RV cross country is just begging for the tranny to blow or the engine melt. I worked highway construction for 10 years and lived out of a 24ft Holiday Rambler. Took 3 moves to understand I needed a lot more truck or I was going to destroy my 1/2 ton Chevy. Bought a used F250 diesel and problem solved.

There's lots of things to consider when RVing. First is wind. Wind is a relentless motherfucker. It is a Honey Badger. If it can make your day go bad, it's pleased with itself. Second is grade. Long pulls on grade make everything (engine/trans/brakes) work harder and get hotter. Unless you have a towing package (and to be honest on a 1/2 ton they ain't much) shits gonna overheat and the locals are making a good living out in bumfuck where everybody breaks down. Third is the longer you're in it, the heavier it's going to get. Everybody picks up stuff and over time it really adds up. If you are running at or near the trucks weight limit starting out, you're going to be over it in a short time.

If you're serious about that 30' Alumalite you need a 1 ton (doesn't have to be a dually). A 3/4 ton would work if you just took it out on the weekends, but cross country? No f'n way. You want power, braking and suspension to spare, not at it's max capacity. This is your family, precious cargo. You should also know old RV's are a plumbing nightmare waiting to strike. All that crap was made out of cheap plastic and if it hasn't been cracked by freezing it's cracked by age. You have to buy special fixtures, they're a pita to replace and they're expensive. There's a reason I used the shower to fill my toilet for 3 years.

If it were me, I'd go Airstream or Avion. They're built like tanks, have a surprising amount of space and pull like a dream. You could pull one of those crosscountry with a 3/4 ton no sweat.

The last thing I need to mention is space. There isn't any. Throw privacy in there while we're at it. You are going to be in each others faces and business 24/7 with nowhere to go for a bit of peace. The fun/adventure can wear off pretty quick. 

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Edited by RPM

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As far as signal problems.  Just grab a few burner phones.  When I used to travel to the middle of nowhere for work.  I had my regular phone which was TMobile.  Work phone was ATT and then I grabbed a off the shelf Verizon burner.  One of those 3 networks will work

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Posted (edited)

Holy crap! Just reread and you have 3 kids. You seriously need to rethink your plans and scale down the time or scale up the trailer. 5 people in an RV for a year is highly unstable. You want max room. Forget the Airstream and get a 5thWheel with popouts. Oilfield is bust right now and you can pick them up for pennies on the dollar in the right places. Probably find a nice truck combo deal. It's a buyer's market in the oil patch. Money talks.

Here's a quick search for what you need. These will definitely require a 1 ton or larger. 

Edited by RPM

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Drive the Oregon trail.  Pay Indian guides to ford your RV across the rivers.  Try not to die of cholera.

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2 hours ago, RPM said:

Holy crap! Just reread and you have 3 kids. You seriously need to rethink your plans and scale down the time or scale up the trailer. 5 people in an RV for a year is highly unstable. You want max room. Forget the Airstream and get a 5thWheel with popouts. Oilfield is bust right now and you can pick them up for pennies on the dollar in the right places. Probably find a nice truck combo deal. It's a buyer's market in the oil patch. Money talks.

Here's a quick search for what you need. These will definitely require a 1 ton or larger. 

This, if you plan on working and they plan on doing school work, you are going to need more space than a pull behind will provide. There is also the safety factor to buying decent equipment. Troph picked up a nice diesel for $10k or so and add another $10k and you’re into a decent 5th wheel inside of 15 years old. If you want to make it work for 6+ months, $5k on a bumper pull is going to have you starting off with a problem. I would also take the other advice of spending a couple thousand on a rental for a short period and making sure it’s even something that works for you.

I’m all for the grand adventure. We’ve talked about something similar on a much smaller scale as our kids are wanting to see the National Parks out west. We would go for a couple weeks though, months locked up with them sounds like a miserable experience.

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If you want to have a nice cool summer, you are headed the wrong direction.

I would start in the mountains of New Mexico and then hit all the west National Parks and the west coast. Then go east in the fall.

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I'd rather get covid then spend 6 months in an RV with family or anyone for that matter.     Statistically you are more likely to get covid on your trip so double win for you. 

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Quick search on RV Trader shows you can rent bumper pulls in TX for not much over $100 a night. Maybe you should rent one for a few days, try a local campground and driving around with it, and see if it’s something that still interests you after that experience. They will be 2019/2020 models so you can also see if the creature comforts are all they are cut out to be.

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If you re enroll your kids mid year their teachers will hate them unless their math and reading is on pace or ahead.  Public school teachers really take offense to home schooling (and charters even more). 

 

Also, good luck being able to get phone signal 100%.  I guess if you stay in tourists areas you'll be fine.  I know the national parks have wifi now in their buildings, but they are not building cell towers on their lands.  

You will drive each other crazy, I know because we have 3 kids about yours ages and we've been stuck in the 2000sqft house for 2 months.  Try spending a day this next week with everyone spending the whole day in the kitchen or outside.  

Other than that it's a great idea.  We don't play lottery, but if we did and won, we'd do something like this... In a 40ft motorhome though. 

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Sounds awesome.  One tip on fireworks at the Mall:  daughter lived in DC 3+ years, and watched the fireworks every year.  Did it at the Mall one year, and said it was a clusterf***.  She said best view/place is to watch from the Marine Corp Memorial in Arlington (which was actually close to where she lived).  

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3 hours ago, HookEm said:

If you want to have a nice cool summer, you are headed the wrong direction.

I would start in the mountains of New Mexico and then hit all the west National Parks and the west coast. Then go east in the fall.

Does the winter then become too cold?  Upper midwest in September and October, Maine in early novemeber?  I get what you are saying about the summer being gorgeous out west (other than the Vegas/Grand Canyon part- which would be, about a month from now) but yeah, that brings really cold into play. 

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1 hour ago, dingleberryswitzer said:

If you re enroll your kids mid year their teachers will hate them unless their math and reading is on pace or ahead.  Public school teachers really take offense to home schooling (and charters even more). 

 

Also, good luck being able to get phone signal 100%.  I guess if you stay in tourists areas you'll be fine.  I know the national parks have wifi now in their buildings, but they are not building cell towers on their lands.  

You will drive each other crazy, I know because we have 3 kids about yours ages and we've been stuck in the 2000sqft house for 2 months.  Try spending a day this next week with everyone spending the whole day in the kitchen or outside.  

Other than that it's a great idea.  We don't play lottery, but if we did and won, we'd do something like this... In a 40ft motorhome though. 

Kids are above grade level right now.  My son had some issues in Kindergarten and he was failing.  We got him checked (maybe on the spectrum, definitely ADHD) and pulled him to home school for the last 2 or 3 months of kindergarten. He went from not being able to read or write in February to reading and writing at 4th grade level by enrollment in first grade.  He will be fine. 

Daughter isn't as smart as son but she's an achiever. She's reading/writing at 4th grade level in 3rd grade right now, so she should be fine there. She's a girl so I just figure she's always going to be bad at math and throw my hands up in the air at that (kidding people) but she's at grade level there. 

I'm sure we will drive each other nuts somewhat.  150 years ago families my size and bigger did this in a covered wagon and it was just baked in that 20% of them were going to die. I'm trying to recapture just a shade of this pioneer spirit for them.  Think (hope?) it will be worth the hassle. 

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You want to be in Maine in August, not in November.  I once spent the entire month of August in Maine for my first job out of college, and it was glorious.

In mid-November, average high is 49, average low is 34.  That sounds too much like "winter" to me. :)

 

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I haven’t read all of the recommendations here, but Land Between the Lakes would fit your Tennessee criteria. It’s a fantastic park in Western Tennessee and Kentucky. The park is on a peninsula between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

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Have you planned on drugging your kids so you can bang your wife or are you just going to make them wait outside?

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1 hour ago, AustinMT said:

Sounds awesome.  One tip on fireworks at the Mall:  daughter lived in DC 3+ years, and watched the fireworks every year.  Did it at the Mall one year, and said it was a clusterf***.  She said best view/place is to watch from the Marine Corp Memorial in Arlington (which was actually close to where she lived).  

Thanks.  I did a summer working for my congressman in DC and loved the mall, but we had a July 4th break, I was young and stupid, and went home instead of staying in DC for the 4th. Immediately regretted it. I was a dumbass. That's probably a pretty cool setting too. I'm a misanthrope and hate crowds and cluster fucks.

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1 minute ago, utee94 said:

You want to be in Maine in August, not in November.  I once spent the entire month of August in Maine for my first job out of college, and it was glorious.

In mid-November, average high is 49, average low is 34.  That sounds too much like "winter" to me. :)

 

That's basically the entire reason I want to go east first.  That and upper midwest in September sounds fun.  In October/early november not as much fun.  

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