Renting an RV and going to Grand Canyon!

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by eric, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. eric

    eric Member

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    People at work have way more experience than I do. I guess I have to add 2 more days to the RV. 1 day to get acquainted and 1 day to unpack. Plus its a slow drive from Orange County to Grand Canyon.

    Anyway, going during Spring Break. What to expect? Cold? I'm bringing my 4x5 and medium format. Anyone else be there around that time? I'll be there after Easter.
     
  2. chrisofwlp

    chrisofwlp Member

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    You can expect it to be in the 60's, +/- 10 degrees. The weather up at the canyon is really dynamic. Your best bet is to be ready for anything (heat,rain, snow etc..). If you plan on shooting slide film the alpenglow in norther arizona can creat some stunning images.

    Good Luck.

    Christopher Breitenstein
     
  3. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Just remember that maneuvering a RV on the Grand Canyon roads will be more than a bit of a PIA.

    But since you cycle you can get around that by finding a good site to park it and then using a bike to get around. For that kind of use I'd recommend either a mountain bike (even though you'll be on paved roads) or a road touring one so you can load it up with gear etc.

    Not sure what kind of crowds you'll get at that time - but at least it won't be as crazy as Summer time!
     
  4. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Naaaa, it will be a breeze...just do the same as all the other 1,254 first-time drivers of RV's are doing along the rim of the Grand Canyon!:wink:

    But yes, be prepared for a variety of weather. Cold nights -- you're at 7000' elevation. I use to walk to work through the snow along the rim of the Canyon in May, 1977...you probably won't be that lucky this year, but who knows?!

    There is a good shuttle system going out the West Rim Drive -- lots of places to get off, do a little walking along the rim, then back on the shuttle. A hike away from the crowds would be down the Hermit Trail, perhaps to Dripping Springs or Santa Maria Spring.

    Have fun! I might be heading to Death Valley at about that time -- it will be getting a little warm, but not too bad.

    Vaughn
     
  5. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Im going to Yosemite, or Carmel, or somewhere down there! Probably Yosemite. I have a Dodge Ram truck and an RV trailer. I like to get to a place and unhook and drive the offroad 4x4 V8 around, at least until gas is gone. I see driving RV's every place I have been so it appears to me that there isn't a problem with that. Of course I don't go into places I don't belong, like across a desert or bad back roads way off the beaten path.

    Last time I was out, in the fall, I saw a lot of "El Monte" RV's, they must be a huge rental company. I went to CA, Anaheim, then to LV and up to Mono Lake and across Tioga Pass at 3am, pitch black and cold. Arrived in Yosemite and passed the entrance which had a sign that read "Pay on your way out". We found a camping spot, paid, camped, it's all dry camping there, and left the next day for home. I Took my 5x7 and a bunch of holders and had a blast.

    Good luck and go for it. You will get the hang of RV driving quickly on the road so don't worry about it you will be just find. And one thing to keep in mind; RVer's are some of the friendliest and nice people you will meet. I was told that and found it to be totally true.

    Curt
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Eric,

    I found it VERY hazy -- much easier to shoot B+W with heavy (strong yellow, orange or even red) filtration than colour. Mind you, the first time I was there was in the days when Ektachrome 64 was still regarded as a good film...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  7. eric

    eric Member

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    I'll probably bring B&W and order some FP4+ in 4x5 and 120 sizes. I think I have a B60 Orange filter somewhere. I'll have to figure out how to carry my 4x5 around. Its a monorail.
    I've driven 35 footer Uhauls x-country and I used to drive an Econoline with 15 passengers around NYC so I think I'll be alright.
    As for El Monte RV, yah, they are a huge RV dealer in Socal. Rent, Buy, driving classes, everything.
     
  8. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    About a year or two ago I tried getting a room for an overnight around Easter. All rooms were rented because of spring breakers as told to me by the reservations clerk. I would expect crowds I guess. I don't know what the deal is with RV's, but I hope you have a reservation.

    Come to think of it, I'm going to try now for a reservation again as I'll be in Scottsdale at Easter.
     
  9. eric

    eric Member

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    I've got the RV but I need to call and pick it up earlier. recreation.gov has sites available at Mather park and their web site/call in reservation system just went live after an upgrade last week.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    One thing nice about the Mather Campground is that it has a shuttle stop...so one does not have to walk far to get anywhere.

    One can also walk from the campground almost due north and get to the rim in a reasonable amount of time to check out the sunrise on the rim. You will also walk by the little cemetary on your way.

    We were at the Grand Canyon this summer -- towards the end of July. I was surprised at the relatively low number of people. We had no problem getting a campsite at Mathers. It was a combination of heat wave and gas prices that contributed to that (tho all across Nevada/Utah/Arizona the gas prices were still cheaper than our local prices!)

    I will be in Yosemite the 22nd to the 25th of this month, if anyone sees a tall hairy guy with an 8x10 wandering around!

    Vaughn

    PS Eric...anyway you could beg borrow or rent a field camera? Sure would be more convient!
     
  11. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    This sounds like tons of fun! One of my dreams is to drive across the US in an RV, setting up a makeshift darkroom in it.:smile:
    Before you go, you have GOT to rent the Robin Williams movie RV. What a hoot! :D

    Have a great time!
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Any update on the RV trip or planning?
     
  13. eric

    eric Member

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    Yes! I've talked to a lot of people who have RV and told them my dates. They suggested to add at least 2 more days to the rental. One day just to almost load everything. Also, didn't realize that from Socal to GC, its about 7-8 hrs by car and add more for an RV. So that's almost a 2 day trip and I'll stay halfway going to GC (maybe Death Valley or something). And take all day coming home. Better to have more days on the RV than to rush a 1 week Spring Break trip. So I'm getting the RV on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Drive up on Easter Sunday afternoon, stay the night somewhere, and be fresh at GC the next morning. The GC website is pretty good for online booking.

    Had my Lowepro AW Mini backpack stolen a few years ago (yes, with all but 1 Hassy lens and back) and I think I'll get one of those again for hiking with my medium format and maybe take apart my combo 4x5 and somehow fit it in there (without the medium format of course). I've got tons of 4x5 400 speed film. Need to order a bunch of 120 FP4 or Neopan 400. Not sure yet.

    Things I didn't know about RV's:
    Propane is used to power the fridge
    I probably need to stop somewhere and flush out the toilet. Fun
    30 gallon h2o tank will not be enough for showers.
    RV's are addictive, they say that camping will never be the same again (especially with kids). And I'm used to solo bike touring and camping!

    Bought a dog crate so dog can come. Cheaper than putting the dog in a kennel for 9 days.
     
  14. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Besides the movie BWGirl recommend, I suggest you rent a copy of Albert Brooks's Lost in America - and stay as far away from Vegas as you can! :surprised:
     
  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    If you do go into LV the Oasis RV park will blow you away! No kidding we stay there, close the strip and so cheap it's sick. They have everything, it's like being at home. Oh yea, the dumping isn't nearly as bad as you think. And the water heaters recover fast. I have a small trailer and the the shower is great. We are looking forward to getting a larger one before spring break. The nice thing is you can stop at turnouts and rest, eat your own food and not have to eat junk all the time. It's a time saver not to have to lug baggage into hotel rooms and unpack and pack. You'll have a lot of fun I'm sure. How many kids are there? Just a little north of LV is Valley of Fire state park, I can never figure out why it is not a National Park, which has RV camping in it! This place is fantastic, I have been there two times. Have fun and enjoy the trip. You will probably be saying "we have to get one of these things".
     
  16. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Hi Curt,

    The reason for saying stay away from Vegas was a direct plot reference to the suggested movie. Actually, it's probably a good midpoint for Eric - if his route takes him that way.

    He just has to keep his "better half" away from "the tables" (er....another plot reference). :wink:
     
  17. wheelygirl

    wheelygirl Member

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    Hey Eric. . .
    Wanna come down to central Arizona and pack me in your RV? LOL! With my wheelchair, backpack, camera, and any other luggage. . .
    I feel very old, suddenly!
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Take the time to dirve around to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Very different look and feel. The South Rim is desert; the North Rim is higher, wooded and cooler [temperature].

    steve
     
  19. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    "Things I didn't know about RV's:
    Propane is used to power the fridge
    I probably need to stop somewhere and flush out the toilet. Fun
    30 gallon h2o tank will not be enough for showers.
    RV's are addictive...."

    While traveling, it's a good idea to turn off the propane. It's illegal in some places to travel with propane appliances running. It's also not a good idea to pull into a service station with the propane burner going on the fridge. It's not a big deal. Just be sure everything is cold when you put it in the fridge and it will stay cold (or frozen) for hours while traveling. Take an ice chest for the beer. It will leave room in the fridge for more film.

    Be sure to use the proper toilet chemicals--preferably one of the newer types that does not include formaldahyde. If you don't use the proper chemicals in the black water tank, you will not like atmosphere inside the RV. Let the black water (toilet) tank get fairly full before dumping. And don't leave the drain valve to the black water tank open while your set up in an RV park with sewer connections. Let the chemicals do their job inside the tank.

    Thirty gallons will get you and one other person through a couple of days of short showers but you'll need to be conservative with water use. I suggest you buy a case or two of bottled water for drinking and use the RV's water supply only for bathing and cleaning purposes. The water in the grey water tank (the tank that holds the drainage from the shower and sinks) should be drained AFTER you drain the black water tank. That way, the sewer hose gets washed out. You DO NOT want to disconnect the sewer hose while it still has sewage in it.

    I've towed a travel trailer for many years as my main residence when taking trips. They ARE addictive. I cringe now to think of staying in hotels and sleeping in the same bed as thousands of others have done prior to me.

    The suggestion that you take in the North Rim is a good one. It's less crowded and, in my opinion, a more beautiful area. I'm not sure it will be open, however. Since it's 1000 feet higher in elevation, it gets a lot more snow and it's there until late in the season. At one time, the North Rim did not open until May 15 and there was still snow on the ground. It's not easy to get to either if you're coming in from the south.

    Oh, and be sure you get reservations as soon as possible. The first time I went to Grand Canyon (sleeping in a tent at that time), I waited until a week before the trip and couldn't get into any of the Park campgrounds.

    Things will go wrong. Consider it part of the adventure. You will have stories to tell later on.