A few years ago our family decided to rent a RV to travel throughout the National Parks in Colorado. We decided that renting a RV with Cruise America was the most convenient RV rental company due to its Cincinnati location and the fact that I was able to take advantage of one of Cruise America’s “Hot Deals” rental specials which offered 50% off the nightly rate for our three week itinerary. While this deal is not offered often, there are usually other rental discounts listed online. Due to our family size, the 30 foot Large RV which sleeps up to 7 was our only option so we booked early and got excited planning for our trip. It seemed that renting a RV through Cruise America was going to be an amazing experience!
We got busy planning which parks we would visit. Our road trip itinerary is mapped here and the entire trip was about 3,200 miles.
While we had a fantastic vacation in our rental RV, it wasn’t perfect. I will highlight the good, the bad, and the worse than bad renting a RV with Cruise America…
Renting a RV With Cruise America
First off, The Good-
1. It is very convenient to pull into camp, park, and be pretty much set up.
2. When you have an entire RV at your disposal, packing is easy since you can pretty much take anything you want.
3. We could camp in areas with known bear activity without worry that the kids had snuck a snickers bar into their tents.
4. We camped at several parks with no bathroom/shower facilities but we still were able to shower in the RV.
1. Driving and parking a large RV is work and not at all relaxing. We had some pretty tight squeezes at a couple of campgrounds.
2. While in motion, it is not the most comfortable experience for passengers as the bench seats got pretty uncomfortable and the air didn’t circulate well.
3. The gas mileage! At only 9-10 miles to the gallon, gas is a major expense for long trips!
4. The noise- it is noisy inside when driving and we had to talk loud to each other in order to hear ourselves while driving.
5. Speed- Traveling takes longer in a RV because they are just not meant to travel very fast.
The Worse than Bad–
I tend to be an optimistic person, and so I just breezed over the portion of the Cruise America contract which told us what to do if it broke down so we were scrambling to figure it out when we did indeed break down just west of Limon, Colorado in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Only able to go a couple of miles at a time before stalling, we inched our way back to Limon and checked in at the Limon KOA while we tried to contact Cruise America. They sent us to a local truck/RV repair shop so we were stuck while the fuel filter was repaired. Feeling optimistic, we hung out at the truck stop since Limon is not a hotbed of activity and we had no way to get anywhere anyway. Finally on our way to Estes Park the next day, imagine our surprise when we broke down again on I-270 in Denver right in the middle of rush hour. It was absolutely terrifying to be stuck in the middle of zooming traffic in a stalled RV and I was ready to head to the airport and ditch the whole RV trip. We called Cruise America from the middle of the highway and got some promising news. As luck would have it, a major Cruise America rental and sales center was just a couple of miles away. Once again we inched our way down the road and rolled into the Cruise America parking lot. Heading inside, Dave negotiated with the somewhat abrupt lady working the counter before a manager was finally called in. Hearing our story he offered this solution, we could trade out the RV we were in for a new model and we would be credited for the day we lost in Limon. Worked for us. Only problem was the store was closing in 30 minutes and we had to finish transferring our stuff by then. Pulling the RVs next to each other, we worked liked crazy to transfer all the groceries, pots, pans, clothes, bedding, toiletries, bikes and on and on to our new digs.
By the time we were finishing up we were exhausted from the drama, work and heat. Dave and I were just packing up the last of the bathroom supplies when all of a sudden we felt the RV moving and we were rolling into the street. Thinking one of the kids had accidentally put the RV in gear, Dave started roaring STOP!! STOP!! and tore through the cabin to put the brakes on. I imagine the Cruise America worker who had hopped in to move us was more than a little surprised. Good lord, would this day never end?
Finally, we were finished transferring our stuff and we were on our way once again to Estes Park. From there on out the RV was great and we had no other problems. I definitely would rent an RV to travel again and maybe even from Cruise America but I wonder what our solution would have been if we weren’t near a major rental store? In any case, if we ever do rent an RV again I will do one thing differently. Due to the low gas mileage and slower travel speeds, instead of driving across the country in the RV I would either fly or drive in our car to the general area and then travel throughout the region in it. All in all it was a great road trip and one we will never forget. As how things always are, the breakdowns and meltdowns while renting a RV with Cruise America are one of the things we remember and laugh about most when reminiscing about the trip.
Have you ever rented an RV for a Road Trip? I’d love to hear how it went!