Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are considering buying a Class C motorhome and doing some traveling. We have no clue on what to expect, what we might need, or how to go about making a buying decision. My wife says we just need to go ahead and take action. I am more cautious. She says I study things to death, but I just don't want to spend a pile of money and find out two weeks into our trip we bought the wrong darn thing.
Can you give us any advice? It's turning into an argument every time we go RV shopping.
--Studious in Standish
There is nothing wrong with figuring out all your options before pulling the trigger. Everyone will have different needs, fears, and confusion when trying to decide what will fit their needs in this RV lifestyle. I think one great way to try it out would be to rent a motorhome for a week or more and visit a popular area of great camping. Since I am sitting in Capitol Reef National Park writing this, Utah comes to mind. The state of Utah has done a bang-up job of promoting itself. Capitol Reef (along with all the other National Parks in Utah) visitation is up twofold in the past five years. A huge fleet of rental motorhomes reside just down the road in Vegas. People from all over the world fly into Las Vegas, rent a motorhome and head for Utah.
I suggest this busy area because it gives you the opportunity to experience campground bingo at the same time you are trying to figure out what rig would work best for you. You will learn how hard it is to explore these areas without a smaller tow vehicle (toad), how hard it is to snag a campsite without a reservation, and many other situations that exist, and at this point you have no clue.
I think my biggest caution in using a rental unit would be sanitation. I would ask the rental company what their policy is on sanitizing units on their return. If not convinced it's proper, I would do my own freshwater tank sanitizing. I find it very common at campground dump stations to see people, with no idea how things work, filling tanks with non-potable water, doing their dishes right at the dump station, not rinsing any equipment they use, and using the same water hose to rinse the sewer hose and fill.
In Yellowstone I pulled up behind a Chinese delegation that seemed to be having a jolly time laughing and trying to figure out the dump technique. I tried to help, but seemed to be confusing them more than helping. All five of them kept signaling to me that they had it under control. I sat for fifteen minutes and watched them do every crazy thing I have ever witnessed in the past and then some. I sure wouldn't want to be the next rental customer on that rig.
Other than that, I think a rental week could open your eyes to many questions you may not even have at this point, and answer many you do.
--Keep Smilin', Richard E. Mallery a.k.a Dr. R.V. Shrink