RV/Motor Home alternative

pelicanpete

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Has anyone out there in Boatland taken a sabbatical and gone touring around Europe in a decent sized motor home of around 30-35ft in length. I'm thinking of buying an American RV (either in the UK or importing one - BTW anyone have recommendations for a UK based purveyor of used yank RVs?). Any experiences from ex-boaters' perspectives would be much enjoyed and appreciated.
 

ccscott49

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Worse than mutiny!! Desertion!
Had a m,ate who did this for a year, loved it, bnut that was many moons ago, before regulation caught up, now have to park where they say!! Not as free as it used to be.
 

vyv_cox

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That's a very big van for European roads. I have rented a 24 ft in USA and that was plenty big enough for two of us, fixed bed, full facilities. We see people in France in converted buses and similar vehicles, they are unable to go anywhere in towns and rely totally on alternative transport, bikes, motor bikes or even towed cars. My current van is 6 metres, a little on the small side for year-long living, although we lived comfortably in it for four months in Spain and Portugal.

Incidentally, the situation for vans in Europe is getting similar to that for boats. Too many and people are becoming overwhelmed with them. France continues to provide superb facilities but nobody else does. In summer time vans tend to stay put when they get in somewhere nice, so many parking places are packed solid. I believe it is better further east but there are few sites that are available to large vans and you may be forced to find your own, unofficial parking. Many countries don't allow this, so it can be stressful.

USA RVs are very heavy on fuel, even the diesel ones. My daughter owns a petrol one, they are lucky to get 10 mpg. Our rented one did about the same. Diesels will only improve that by about 50%. Most European vans using turbocharged smaller engines can expect 25 - 30 mpg.

You could try http://www.westcroftmotorhomes.com I don't know them but they advertise in the Motorhome magazines. In your situation I would visit Holland or Germany and buy there, much cheaper than here and LHD. That's what we did.
 

AJW

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Perhaps a more boaty alternative would be to buy a barge and spend some time knocking around the European waterway system? The problem with RV/Caravaning is the need to stay in campsites in close proximity with many more of the the same. (alright, maybe that's just like being in a marina! /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif)
 

pelicanpete

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There was always a fear in my mind that I would be accused of being mutinous or a deserter, or a desert mutant or something...but rest assured I still have my boats and have no intention of selling out. I just fancied taking to the highways and by-ways for six months to see how the others live. I don't think they have the 'raggies vs. stinkpot' challenge going on, which would be nice.

Thx to Vyv Cox for his/her insight into the nether-world. Very interesting! (I have a lot to learn when it comes to RV'ing). Would welcome any further comments, neg or pos.

I wonder if I should commit the cardinal sin and pose the same Q. on Liveaboards Forum?? /forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif
 

Birdseye

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sometimes seems as if half our club have bought these abortions. mostly hymer. they seem to enjoy them but I've always bel;ieved in travelling light.

motorcycle is what you want!
 

BrendanS

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I've rented a 30' RV to travel around Alaska, and it was superb, as their roads are built for big vehicles. When I rented an RV in NZ, they don't rent that size RV, as their roads are not suited to such big vehicles.

Fantastic way to get around and see countries though, as you can be extremely flexible, and no need to book hotels ahead, so you can set your own pace, and linger here, and move on there. You may need to book campsites ahead in busy periods however, unless will to take a few chances, and stop in laybys where no camping signs.

You may find the same type of issues in Europe, where some towns can have very small roads (Seville comes to mind for some strange reason! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif), so you need to balance the requirement of comfort of a large vehicle, with ease of access to places you want to go. For instance, if you took a 30'er to Salcombe, you'd need to plan where you went extrememly carefully to avoid problems, as there are some bends there on the coast road you have difficulty getting a car around without 3 point turns (like the one near Bolt Head Hotel)
 

Topcat47

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Sadly two of my boaty neighbours have gone to the devil this way. A Rapido and a Mirage grace their respective drives. Not content with keeping a motor bike in the integral garage, one couple are considering buying a Fiat UNO as a tender.

Still that's two fewer yachts in the Solent this year...........
 

BrendanS

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One of the advantages of RV'ing in the wild in Alaska. Stop anywhere you like preferably next to a river or lake with mountain background, and no other humans around for miles, and no nocturnal attention, as they'd be too worried about bears gettting them! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Where have you heard about knockout gas attacks, as that's a new one on me
 

donm

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We did a bit of it. Had a LH Hymer around 20 ft - excellent vehicle and good quality. Max length should be around 24ft and single rear axle as above this will reduce the number of sites that you can get on. We carried bikes on a rack at the rear, a sat tv which worked all over Europe when you learnt the knack of aiming it correctly! Furthest we went was to Interlaken, Switzerland - long drive.
Not as good as sailing obviously but still a nice way to travel and see the World. We also hired a van in NZ and did some of the North Island.

Go for it BUT don't sell the boat!
 

pelicanpete

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Good info, guys (an gals?). Thank you...Keep it coming.

I got my first taste of RV'ing like some of you, in the North Island, N.Z. but this was in 1994. Enjoyed it immensely. Perhaps it lit a little spark that needs to burn.

Bit concerned about the gas attacks, though.
 

trouville

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There was a post about the knock out gas and an anitestist posted to say it would be impossiable to administer a gas that would render unconsious. And it was just one of those rummers with no foundation.

When i drive in France (by road) ive noticed places where a camping car might stay they all have a sign saying "camping cars please park and an arrow" then the nights charges can be paid at the marie or will be collected at,and the times.

Other places have signs saying "no parking for campers" and indeed they can be a pest this weekend were 2 new large white ones in the middel of the road keeping a steady 30kms. Finaly i hooted and roured past them in out 1959 citroen 2cv.
 

vyv_cox

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Gas attacks have been reported numerous times in Caravan Club and Camping Club magazines. Happens in particular on motorway service areas where presumably people are asleep with windows open. Baddies squirt gas inside, people fall into deeper sleep/unconsciousness, baddies get into van and clear out what they can. Has been reported in France and Spain.
 
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