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RV rookie tells his story about traversing U.S.

2015-08-23 Vicigo

Vicigo can bring you to many places. But what if you plan to go to places that do not have Vicigo, say America?To all the carlovers out there: America is the land of the free and home of the brave cardrivers.Nearly everything and everybody can be reached easily by car, but cars are more than just a wondermachine which bringsyou from A to B. They are a lifestyle and they define who you are. And at least since 1933, when the first drive-in theaterscame to live, cars and romance go hand in hand. Cars are there to bring you to a place where you want to be, to make dreamscome true.

The downside of it is: If you do not like travelling by car, which probably applies to most of the Vicigo-community, you will have abad time. Trains are rare, as well as long-distance bus drives. You can always hop on a plane, but do you really want to seethe world from far away?

Exploring America by car

Here is my advice to anyone who wants to see America, but does not like cars: Do not even try to explore America by train or by bus. Be American, use a car, no way around it, drown your ethical concerns about the environmentin cheap, God-approved gas and you will have all the freedom that one can ask for, and all the possibilities to find the heartof America.

If you plan to rent your ride: Choose the smallest car on the list. Americans do not drive small cars, you willget an upgrade for free (though they probably try to convince you to pay for an upgrade before they show you the car). And why do they offersmall cars? To catch the cheap and economical Germans who would never pay one dime to much! (And I can say that, because I am German).Maybe some of you plan to hitchhike in America. I have not done it in America before, but I need to warn you first: America can be a dangerous place.Maybe ask someone at a gas station who looks trustworthy instead of waiting on the street. Americans are usually very friendly people who like to help you out.If you have a local contact, they will most likely not let you hitchhike, but drive you instead. For Americans, transportation is a human need just as food, and they will not let you starve.

Live anywhere you want to live - rent an RV

But maybe you want to spend even more time on the street? There are plenty of possibilities to rent your moving dreamhouse, alsocalled RV (Recreational Vehicle). And again, I can not say it often enough, Americans do not drive small cars or small RVs.Interestingly the small RVs are usually more expensive than the bigger ones, because small RVs are very popular with Europeans.The reason is simple: big RVs take a lot of gas, and this will get pricy, even with cheap gas. Before you rent your RV - estimatehow many miles you plan to go.

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RVs can offer you a lot of freedom when travelling around. Where you will stay the night - it is up to you!Maybe you prefer campgrounds? They give you some comfort and can be fun, but they are rather expensive. Usually you can connect your RV to a water hose to fill up your fresh water tank and enjoy running water, and you can dump your full tank of used water, so whatever you do, stoppingby at a campground once in a while can not be avoided. There are plenty of campgrounds in the U.S., and even more in the Southwest. Some people even live permanently in an RV.

For the more adventureous people among you, I can advise you to park your RV in any quiet neighborhood - as long as you do not park directly in front of someone's house and as long as you leave the nextmorning. This does even apply for big cities such as San Francisco. Even better are small parking lots in the contryside or dead ends - one should be able to know whether you disturb anyoneby your presence or not. More official parking lots and parking lots at a National Park are very tempting and can be beautiful, but rangers could always detect you and wake you up, and you can end up driving many miles in the middle of the night.  But if you want totake this risk: Go for it! I have taken it many times, and I do not regret it. You might miss out on good opportunities otherwise.

Tips and tricks when you have troubles finding a place to park your RV

Not very beautiful, but usually rather comfortable are big parking lots in urban areas. Some are closed overnight or forbidden to stay,and you need to be careful there as well. Parking lots in front of hospitals or malls did not work as well as grocery stores for me, but you can always try.But say you are in San Francisco. It is late, you are tired, you just want to go to sleep and not be woken up, maybe have something to eat in the morning, what do you do? Walmart is the answer! Walmart is open 24h a day, and it is not illegal to park your RV overnight.(Sometimes you even will see other people using the same trick!) Walmart has restrooms, and you can buy everything you need and everything that you donot need. If you are lucky, a McDonald's or a Starbucks is close by, and you will even have free Wifi and cheap food. People who live on the safe side or just want to do the right thing, can of course always ask first. It also can be a good opportunity to meet new people and make friends. But often enough, no one will be around to ask, and you will enjoy the loneliness.

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One last tip: In spring, the deserts in the Southwest are warm during the day, but can be freezingly cold at night. Check the temperatures that you will expecton your route before making your decision. RVs are usually not heated! Enjoy your stay!


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