RV Rental Question

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RV Rental Question

Postby britzbitz » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:38 pm

So, we're going to be renting an RV through Cruise America.

I'm wondering if someone who's rented through them before can comment -

How easy/hard/plausible is it to clean the RV to the company's standards in order to get your DD back?

I've never rented one before, nor have I been to BM, but I imagine the dust gets everywhere...

Past experiences with this?

And, if you've been multiple times with a rental RV, any tips for keeping it as clean as possible during the event?

Sorry if this has been asked before...didn't see anything relevent when I searched.

Thanks for any thoughts on this. :)
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Postby Sham » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:14 am

Imagine have a bucket of talcum powder in the center of your RV and then exploding it with fire crackers. Playa dust is very alkaline, and it sticks to everything. The rental company will look for traces of playa dust in order to keep your deposit.

If you take extra effort not to open the doors during a dust storm, it will help a lot. Vinegar mixed with water helps to break down and clean the dust off. Any car I've ever taken to the playa still has traces of dust. You never can get rid of all of it.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:41 am

Check this thread out.

viewtopic.php?t=28162&start=0
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:39 pm

My thought on this is that I'd personally try to find a rental provider that is Burner friendly and then factor in their "we'll take it and clean it for you" fee.

I'd then make my best effort to help by keeping things closed, etc.

IMHO, the people that do the large deposit route end up spoiling a significant amount of their experience babysitting an RV so that it doesn't get dirty. It is almost impossible to clean it to their satisfaction if they know you are going to Burning Man. This is an additional revenue stream to them.

Or perhaps the deposit is low enough that you can just sort of write it off and enjoy yourself. Personally, I'd consider anything less than $350 or so as worth it to just have them clean it.

I did rent an RV one year and I did manage to clean it to satisfaction of the renter but he a.) didn't know I had been to Burning Man and b.) I took almost 3 days of cleaning and recleaning it.
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Postby dragonpilot » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:19 pm

We lay down towels and old carpet remnants on the floor, cover the seats with old sheets, as well as the driver's compartment and dash. Close all windows/doors when you're the last person out, or just before an impending dust storm.

The no shoes policy is hard to enforce, so we stopped trying. When we return home each person is assigned a section (bath, kitchen, bedroom, etc) to thoroughly detail...and I mean thoroughly! Don't forget under the hood and the exterior...wash and dress the tires, too! We always return it in better condition than when we checked it out. Nevah had a problem! AAMAF, we get a good customer discount on succeeding years...:)
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Postby danibel » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:00 pm

I haven't rented an RV so I don't have any tips for you there. However, last year was my first burn and I rented a cargo van from Enterprise. I did not tell them where I was taking it.

The clean up took me a WHOLE DAY! I didn't realize how screwed I was that the van had this dark black rubber mat glued on the floor. The big square where I had my futon had stayed relatively dust free but the floor by the back and the side doors, wow.
I first wiped the inside down with baby wipes (I had a lot left over), then I sprayed the bad spots with vinegar water and used a micro fiber towel, to no avail. When the black mat was wet, it was beautiful! But then it dried and left a coat of gray. In desperation I hopped onto eplaya and did search on clean up and found a tip (that I am passing along in case you have rubber or plastic in that RV somewhere) - Amour All Leather Wipes!!! They are miracles! Not cheap, and I used two whole containers, but they removed that last layer of gray. Enterprise was never the wiser and I wasn't charged any clean up fee. I did return the van cleaner than it was when I picked it up. How's that for no trace?! =)

PS - Is it August yet?!!!
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Postby much2naughty2 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:35 pm

I know the playa is harsh, but at other places we've camped we put a foot bath outside the door and had a no shoes policy. Kind of a pain in these extreme conditions I read about.

Since I own my own RV, we're going to have to suffer through the cleanup for our own benefit. However, since it's a toy hauler, it's meant to have a pressure washer floor scrub when we get home. Covering the furniture with old sheets was a great idea,

Also might not hurt to do a good wipe down inside with Armor-All BEFORE you get to the playa dust to put a good protective coat on the inside and a hot wax to the outside if you can find a carwash with clearance. Just a thought.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:49 am

Something makes me think that fresh armor-all will collect playa dust. My gut reaction would be to not armor-all before playa incase it retains the dust making cleaning more difficult. This answer is unscientific and solely based on my perception of potential cause and effect due to my prior non playa armor-all experience. I am not a physicist.
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Postby Sham » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:32 am

When I rent a car, I never tell then that I'm bringing it to Burning Man. Last year I went so far as to ask the clerk at the counter what was going on in Reno and why was everyone dressed so crazy. Another customer said "it's the BM festival, man". Me:"what hotel is it at?". Them:"it's in the desert". Me:where can i get information and tickets?". Them:"you gotta plan ahead, you just can't go". Me:"maybe I'll go check it out this week". Clerk:"are you going to Burning Man". Me:"NO!".

When you clean the inside of a vehicle after being in the Black Rock Desert, DO NOT use wet clothes to do it. Use dry microfiber clothes to get off the dust. Also, bring a big floppy paint brush to get the dust out of hard to reach areas. There are hundreds of RVs rented for that week to go to BM and it's really no secret as to where it's going. They know the mileage that's going to be on the vehicles that were driven to BRC---between 250 to 275 round trip from Reno added to your point of rental. They know!

Another very interesting thing to consider before renting an RV, is to figure all the costs associated with renting---cleaning, deposits, weekly fees, mileage, insurance etc. and consider buying a good used RV for the same or less money than the rental. There are lots for sale now that the economy has tanked, and if you cut a good deal for one, you could sell it after you use it for hopefully the same as you bought it for, or keep it and use it year after year. No cleaning charges and no mileage fees. Just some thoughts.
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Postby Dr Dilemma » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:47 am

My limited experience:

Cruise America - yes, you CAN get your entire deposit back, but you'll need at least one full day of a few people detailing the crap out of it.

El Monte - Heard good things about them. Burner friendly.

Moturis - claim to be burner friendly, but they are the WORST ever. Will completely rip you off, don't use them, super serious.

The least expensive option thus far was actually buying a RV. But I'll add a couple of caveats: we lost the generator 1/2 way through (we had a backup), the fresh water tank burst and the starter needed to be replaced. We got REAL lucky that a tow operator was willing to go get us a new starter. Assuming repairs to get her playa-worthy this year aren't more than the $6000 you'll spend on renting one, it will become cheaper. But make no mistake, its a huge time suck, and you have to have a place to store it the rest of the year.

The up side? You can make it look like this:

Image

Yeah we did it, we painted her Flamingo Pink and christened her the USS Nancy Reagan.
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Postby much2naughty2 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:31 am

What a sweeeeeeeet ride, I'm so jealous. Nancy never looked better.

I ckecked into the price of a rental for 2-10 day campouts this summer, and that's why we bought. If we use it 4 times in two years it's paid for it's self.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:34 am

motskyroonmatick wrote:Something makes me think that fresh armor-all will collect playa dust. My gut reaction would be to not armor-all before playa incase it retains the dust making cleaning more difficult. This answer is unscientific and solely based on my perception of potential cause and effect due to my prior non playa armor-all experience. I am not a physicist.


No, fresh armor does repel dust. Somewhat. I have armor all wipes and sponges we keep in the glove box, and when we get in, we start wiping the doors and dash and such. We do stay buttoned up during Exodus as much as possible. Now this is simply our SUV, not an RV, but I'd think the idea would work.
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Postby britzbitz » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:16 am

Thank you so much for all of your input. :D

It's getting easier and easier to wrap my brain around how all this is going to work.

Put down sheets and towels (although part of me wants to use saran wrap, so I can be a stereotypical Italian with plastic on the furniture), close the door, Armour All wipes, paint brush (brilliant, reminded me that I used to use those to detail cars when I was younger)....much less worried about it all now.

As much as I'd love to buy an RV (because currently, I live in a tent for close to a month in the summer), it's a bit impractical for me. For one thing, my fiance is just getting into Real Estate this year...with a commission based income, things are going to be a little tight for a while.

In addition to that, I live in Canada. Our economy didn't take as much of a nosedive, and prices on used vehicles etc have remained pretty much the same up here.

And the thought of buying an RV in the US, and having to through whatever I'd have to do to get it over the border after a crazy week in the desert is really unappealing. Also wouldn't have time to get it worked on and ready to go.

One day, though...
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Postby much2naughty2 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:09 pm

motskyroonmatick and AntiM, I checked with the folks at Armour-all and you are both 100% correct. In fact in an email from them, they say ALL their product does is protect surfaces from UV Rays, no other claim of being for any other use, and they don't recommend it for any other use.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:25 pm

AntiM wrote:
motskyroonmatick wrote:Something makes me think that fresh armor-all will collect playa dust. My gut reaction would be to not armor-all before playa incase it retains the dust making cleaning more difficult. This answer is unscientific and solely based on my perception of potential cause and effect due to my prior non playa armor-all experience. I am not a physicist.


No, fresh armor does repel dust. Somewhat. I have armor all wipes and sponges we keep in the glove box, and when we get in, we start wiping the doors and dash and such. We do stay buttoned up during Exodus as much as possible. Now this is simply our SUV, not an RV, but I'd think the idea would work.


I can totally see using the wipes and sponges on the way out.
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Postby Token » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:12 pm

Another thing to think about is where you hire the coach.

The same company (El Monte) for same model and 11 day rental:

Los Angeles. $2000
Las Vegas. $2500
San Francisco. $5000
Reno. $6000


Both LA and Vegas are a lazy 12 hour drive (~ 650 miles).
SF is about half that.
Reno is couple few hours.

Petrol for a coach will run you ~ $1 for every 2 or 3 miles.

It is much cheaper to go from LA or Vegas if you have the time for the drive.
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Postby britzbitz » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:39 am

I'm actually planning to pick up our RV in Tacoma, WA. It's about the same amount of driving time as LA. And Tacoma had the best rental price for the cities closest to the border.

Us Canucks can take the train from Vancouver to Tacoma for $23.00 or so...bit cheaper than a flight to LA. :)

I'm actually really looking forward to the drive. I've done a similar route once before going to Northern California. Such a lovely drive. Ah, I can't wait.
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Postby SnowBlind » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:12 pm

Token wrote:Another thing to think about is where you hire the coach.

The same company (El Monte) for same model and 11 day rental:

Los Angeles. $2000
Las Vegas. $2500
San Francisco. $5000
Reno. $6000


Both LA and Vegas are a lazy 12 hour drive (~ 650 miles).
SF is about half that.
Reno is couple few hours.

Petrol for a coach will run you ~ $1 for every 2 or 3 miles.

It is much cheaper to go from LA or Vegas if you have the time for the drive.


Keep in mind though that they often charge you quite a bit per mile. And the included miles are not very high.

I looked into that one year, and the RVs from Vegas or LA would have cost me more than the ones from the Bay Area, once I factored in those miles.

Of course, YMMV (almost literally ;) )
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